The National Flower of China is plum blossom also known as prunus (scientific name) or Prunus mume. Plum Blossom belongs to Rosaceae family. Prunus mume originated in the south of mainland China around the Yangtze River and was later introduced to Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. But it is officially considered the China national flower.
It can be found in sparse forests, stream sides, forested slopes along trails and mountains, sometimes at altitudes up to 1,700–3,100 meters (5,600–10,200 ft), and regions of cultivation.
Prunus mume is a short time tree that starts to flower in mid-winter, typically around January until late February in East Asia. It can grow to 4–10 meters (13–33 ft) tall. The flowers are 2–2.5 centimeters (0.79–0.98 in) in diameter and have a strong fragrant scent.
Plum Blossom Flower colors are in varying shades of white, pink, and red. The leaves appear shortly after the petals fall, are oval-shaped with a pointed tip, and are 4–8 cm long and 2.5–5 cm wide.
The fruit ripens in early summer, around June and July in East Asia, and coincides with the rainy season of East Asia, the meiyu (literally “plum rain”). The drupe is 2–3 centimeters (0.79–1.18 in) in diameter with a groove running from the stalk to the tip.
The skin turns yellow, sometimes with a red blush, as it develops fully, and the flesh becomes yellow.
The tree is cultivated for its fruit and flowers. The plants have different names in English, including Chinese plum and Japanese apricot. An alternative name isumefrom Japanese, or mume, from the scientific name.Another alternative name is mei, from the Chinese name The flower is known as the meihua.
In China, there are over 300 recorded cultivars of Prunus mume. These are divided into three groups by phylogenetics (P. mume and hybrids). These are further classified by the type of branches: upright, pendulous , and tortuous and by the characteristics of the flower.
Some varieties are especially famed for their ornamental value, including the hongmei ,taigemei, zhaoshuimei, lü’emei , longyoumei , and chuizhimei .
10 Facts about Plum Blossom Flower: you should know
- Plum Blossom is the native, famous and popular flower of China country.
- Amygdalin (is a poisonous cyanogenic glycoside found in many plants, but most notably in the seeds (kernels) of apricot, bitter almonds, apple, peach, and plum.) is chemical compound isolated from seed. It turns into toxic compound known as cyanide in the human body
- Plum is the best source of vitamins C and K and dietary fibers. Sugar content changes with variety.
- Plums can be used raw or in the form of juices, jellies, marmalades and cakes
- Plum is used for the production of wine in China, cider-like alcoholic beverage (called plum jerkum) in England and for plum brandy (called slivovitz) in Serbia.
- Plum can survive up to 20 years when it is cultivated under optimal conditions.
- The Chinese Plum Blossom Flower can be used as a classic herbal tea and has been used for centuries in the practice of Chinese Medicine.
- In mainland China and Taiwan, suanmeitang ( sour plum juice) is made from smoked plums, called wumei The plum juice is extracted by boiling smoked plums in water and sweetened with sugar to make suanmeitang( Chinese beverage made from sour plums). It ranges from light pinkish-orange to purplish black in color and often has a smoky and slightly salty taste. It is traditionally flavored with sweet osmanthus flowers, and is enjoyed chilled, usually in summer.
- A thick, sweet Chinese sauce called meijiang or meizijiang, usually translated as “plum sauce“, is also made from the plums, along with other ingredients such as sugar, vinegar, salt, ginger, chili, and garlic. Similar to duck sauce, it is used as a condiment for various Chinese dishes, including poultry dishes and egg rolls.
- China national flower plum blossom has been an important object for poems and paintings since the Tang Dynasty, reaching a peak during the Song Dynasty(powerful leaders in the same family). Under the brush pen of literati and artisans, the plum blossom’s spirit was celebrated
- The poet expressed the wish of being one with the plum blossom: How can I transform my body into millions, each enjoying the blossom by a plum tree
Why is Plum Blossom the national flower of China ?
Many people of china favor the peony, which is often said to be the unofficial national flower of the country. The peony is an ornamental plant that originated in China and due to its popularity most of the Chinese like peony but still it is not official flower because China has a long history of using and enjoying the plum tree and its flower.
Plum fruit has been used for food for more than 3,000 years, and plum blossoms have been appreciated in gardens and around homes for over 2,000 years.
In the 5th century, princesses and court women started to use plum blossoms for decoration, and this helped make the flower popular. Lu You, another Song Dynasty poet, is also known for poems about the plum blossom. In “Ode to Plum Blossom,” he described I used to ride a horse to visit Western Chengdu,
Intoxicated with the sweet smell of plum blossom.
Due to the abundant use in medicines , drugs and poetry the people of china turns their love to plum blossom. That’s why plum blossom become the national flower of China country.