Ume, Japanese plum
Ume immigrated from China in ancient era to Japan. Name Ume is originated in Chinese sound of 梅, "mei". In China, Ume is most appreciated as spring flower, but in Japan Cherry is favoured. Many Japanese things originally brought from China and since 10 century, "Japanization" ( At that time there is no word related to "Japan", it is called "Yamato") had been progressed for about 5 centuries. Preference to Cherry than Ume is one of them. But still Ume is appreciated as ornament tree, greatly because it blossoms 1 month earlier than Cherry, which is around Chinese new year. Ume in Japan is more important as foods. Fruits are harvested after it has grown in size, while it is green. It is around June when Japan has rainy season. We call this season 梅雨, Tsuyu or Baiu which means "plum rain", so much Ume is rooted in Japanese food habitat.
Ume, 梅, Haku-bai, 白梅, Prunus mume, Tsukuba, Ibaraki Japan, March 2006, NikonD70s/MicroNikkor60mm