Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

ume Prunus mume. This is a deciduous tree of the rose family, 5–10 m (16–30') high. Its original home is in China, though some wild specimens have been reported in parts of Kyushu as well as Taiwan.

Because of its highly fragrant, white or pink blossoms, which come out in February and March before any other blossoms, ume has been a popular garden tree in Japan since the earliest times. Its fruit are similar to apricots in shape; they are green at first and greenish-yellow when fully ripened, which is normally in June.