Hope you have a Nice time here!

18 Jun 2007



Have been asked by my friend wat flower do i like...hmmm...honestly, i'm not very much into flora...coz they couldnt live for a longer period....so, for me, as long as they look beautiful (for me), i will accept it....here r some flowers dat i like to look at...& their info....still got others, but i will not put in!!

'Plum Blossoms'

Prunus mume is a species of Asian plum in the family Rosaceae. It is called ume in Japanese, méi in Chinese, maesil in Korean and mai in Vietnamese. The tree originates from China, but it has also been grown in Japan and Korea since ancient times. The tree is cultivated for its fruit and flowers. Although normally called a plum, it is actually more closely related to the apricot. Another species commonly referred to as the "Japanese plum" is the sumomo (Prunus salicina).

The tree flowers in late winter, typically late January or February in East Asia, before the leaves appear. Each flower has five petals and is 1-3 cm in diameter. The flowers are typically white, though cultivars may have rose or deep red flowers. The leaves appear shortly after the petals fall. The leaves are oval, with a pointed tip. The fruit ripens in early summer, typically June in East Asia. The ripening of the fruit coincides with Jiangnan's rainy season, called baiu or tsuyu in Japanese. Each fruit is round with a groove running from the stalk to the tip. The skin is green when unripe, and turns yellow, sometimes with a red blush, as it ripens. The flesh becomes yellow.


Culinary use
Ume juice is extracted by preserving the fruits in sugar. In China, sour plum juice is made from smoked ume. It ranges from light pinkish orange to purplish black in color and often has a smoky and slightly salty taste. It is traditionally flavoured with sweet osmanthus flowers, and is enjoyed chilled, usually in summer. The juice produced in Japan and Korea, made from green ume, tastes sweet and acidic, and is considered a refreshing drink, also often enjoyed in the summer. In Korea, maesil juice, which is marketed as a healthful tonic, is enjoying increasing popularity. It is commercially available in glass jars in sweetened, concentrated syrup form; it is reconstituted by stirring a small amount of syrup into a glass of water. The syrup may also be prepared at home by storing one part fresh maesil in a container with one part sugar (but no water).

Ume liquor is popular in both Japan and Korea. Umeshu is a Japanese alcoholic drink made by steeping green ume in shōchū. It is sweet and smooth. The taste and aroma of umeshu can appeal to even those people who normally dislike alcohol. A similar liquor in Korea, called maesilju, is marketed under various brand names including Mae Hwa Su, Mae Chui Soon, and Seol Joong Mae. Both the Japanese and Korean varieties of ume liquor are available with whole ume fruits contained in the bottle. Umeboshi or pickled ume, are a Japanese specialty. Flavoured with salt and purple shiso (perilla) leaves, they are red in color and quite salty and sour, and therefore eaten sparingly. Umeboshi are generally eaten with rice as part of a bento, although they may also be used in makizushi. Makizushi made with ume may made with either umeboshi or umeboshi paste, often in conjunction with green shiso leaves. A by-product of umeboshi production is umeboshi vinegar, a salty, sour condiment.

Huamei or Chinese preserved plum, refers to any of a large number of Chinese foods involving plums pickled in sugar, salt, and herbs such as licorice. There are two general varieties: a dried variety, and a wet (pickled) variety. However, flavours and methods of preparation differ widely by region. Huamei are usually consumed as a snack.

A thick, sweet Chinese sauce called mei jiang or meizi jiang usually translated as "plum sauce," is also made from ume, 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.

Medicinal use
In traditional Chinese medicine, the smoked fruits, called wumei, is used for medicinal purposes. They are generally black in color and are believed to be effective against parasites, as well as in stopping ulcers and promoting a strong digestive system and heart.

Cultural significance
Ume flowers have been well loved and celebrated in both China and Japan. In China, they are most commonly used as decoration during the Chinese New Year. The blossoms are common subjects in Chinese art and are among the most beloved Chinese flowers. Unlike the Japanese, however, the Chinese see the blossoms as more of a symbol for winter rather than a harbinger of spring. It is precisely for this reason that the blossoms are so beloved, because they bloom most vibrantly amidst the winter snow while all other flowers have long since succumbed to the cold and died. Thus, they are seen as an example of resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity, and thus has also been used as a metaphor to symbolize revolutionary struggle. Because they blossom in winter, the ume, the pine, and the bamboo together have been called the "Three Friends of the Cold". Apart from that, the blossom is one of the "Four Junzi Flowers"in China (the others being orchid, chrysanthemum, and bamboo) and symbolized nobleness.

The blossom has long been a floral symbol of the ancient Chinese city of Nanjing. In 1964, the Executive Yuan of the Republic of China adopted the five-petaled plum blossom as the national flower of the Republic of China. It also serves as the logo of China Airlines, the national carrier of the Republic of China. The flower features prominently on currency and other national symbols. In mainland China, the flower also features on currency and other important symbols.

Ume blossoms are often mentioned in Japanese poetry as a symbol of spring. When used in haiku or renga, they are a kigo or season word for early spring. The blossoms are asscociated with the Japanese Bush Warbler, and they are depicted together as one of the twelve suits on hanafuda (Japanese playing cards). During the Nara period (8th century), the blossom of the ume tree was preferred over the sakura (cherry) blossom, which became popular after the Heian period (794-1185).

'Cheery Blossom' @ Sakura

Sakura or Cherry Blossom is the Japanese name for ornamental cherry trees, Prunus Serrulata, and their blossoms. Cherry fruit (known as sakuranbo) come from a different species of tree. It can also be used as a name.

Sakura is indigenous to the Himalayas and in east Asia such as China, Korea and Japan. Japan has a wide variety of sakura—more than 305 species can be found there. This is because many were artificially hybridized or grafted by the Japanese many centuries ago.

Flower viewing
During the Heian Period (794–1191), the Japanese nobility sought to emulate many things Chinese, including the social phenomenon of flower viewing (hanami), where the imperial households, poets, singers, and other aristocrats would gather and party under the blossoms. The first recorded flower-viewing event took place at Kyoto's Shinsen-en Garden in 812. In China, it was the ume “plum” tree (actually a species of apricot) that was held in highest regard, but somehow by the middle of the ninth century, the sakura had replaced the plum as the favored species in Japan.

Every year the Japanese Meteorological Agency and the public track the sakura zensen (cherry-blossom front) as it moves northward up the archipelago with the approach of warmer weather via nightly forecasts follow the weather segment of news programs. The blossoming begins in Okinawa in January and typically reaches Kyoto and Tokyo at the end of March or the beginning of April. It then it proceeds into areas at the higher altitudes and northward, arriving in Hokkaidō a few weeks later. Japanese pay close attention to these forecasts and turn out in large numbers at parks, shrines, and temples with family and friends to hold flower-viewing parties. Hanami festivals celebrate the beauty of the sakura and for many are a chance to relax and enjoy the beautiful view. The custom of hanami dates back many centuries in Japan: the eighth-century chronicle Nihon Shoki records hanami festivals being held as early as the third century CE.

Most Japanese schools and public buildings have sakura trees outside of them. Since the fiscal and school year both begin in April, in many parts of Honshū, the first day of work or school will coincide with the cherry blossom season.

In China, the cherry blossom is a symbol of feminine beauty and sexuality. It has also come to represent the feminine principle and the love in the language of herbs. On the other hand, in Japan, cherry blossoms symbolize the transience of life because of their short blooming times. They have also come to represent clouds due to their nature of blooming en masse. Falling blossoms are used as metaphors for fallen warriors who died bravely in battle. Due to this connotation, they are closely associated with the samurai. This theme remains alive today and is often observed in pop culture, especially manga and anime. Music also works with the theme; for example, the band, Kagrra often uses sakura in its songs and live shows for ambiance. The flower is also represented on all manner of consumer goods, including kimono, stationery, and dishware. Cherry blossoms are an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life, and as such are frequently depicted in art. There is at least one popular folk song, originally meant for the shakuhachi (bamboo flute), titled "Sakura", as well as a number of pop songs. "Sakura" is also a common Japanese female name.

During World War II, the sakura served as a motivating symbol for the Japanese people. Japanese pilots would paint them on the sides of their planes before embarking on a suicide mission, and they were referred to in the names of kamikaze units. A cherry blossom painted on the sides of the bomber symbolized the beauty and ephemerality of nature. The government encouraged the people to believe that the souls of downed warriors were reincarnated in the blossoms. Even now Japanese military and police use the cherry blossom in emblems, flags, and insignia instead of star.

Japan’s most beloved variety of sakura is the Somei Yoshino. Its flowers are nearly pure white, tinged with the palest pink, especially near the stem. The flowers bloom and usually fall within a week, before the leaves come out. Therefore, the trees look nearly white from top to bottom. The variety takes its name from the village of Somei (now part of Toshima in Tokyo). It was developed in the mid- to late-19th century at the end of the Edo period and the beginning of the Meiji period. The Somei Yoshino is so widely associated with cherry blossoms that jidaigeki and other works of fiction often depict the variety in the Edo period or earlier; such depictions are anachronisms.

Other categories include yamazakura, yaezakura, and shidarezakura. The yaezakura have large flowers, thick with rich pink petals. The shidarezakura, or weeping cherry, has branches that fall like those of a weeping willow, bearing cascades of pink flowers.

Outside Japan
Although sakura trees were already indigenous to Korea, following its annexation by Japan, the Japanese planted sakura trees in locations that Koreans found offensive, such as at sites where ancient palaces, like Gyeongbokgung, once stood.

Most of these trees were later cut down and removed by locals, who resented them as a reminder of Japan's imperialism in Korea, but areas where sakura had been blossoming for millennia were left alone. Ironically, sakura trees for appreciation (viewing for their beauty) were replanted by Koreans in Cheju Island and other regions.

A province in Western Philippines, Palawan, serves as home to an endemic Palawan Cherry Blossoms, which appeared to resemble that of Japan's, thus the name.

United States
Japan gave 3,000 sakura trees as a gift to the United States in 1912 to celebrate the nations' then-growing friendship. These trees have since lined the shore of the Tidal Basin in Washington D.C. and the gift was renewed with another 3,800 trees in 1956. The sakura trees continue to be a popular tourist attraction when they reach full bloom in early spring. Macon Georgia also has a festival for cherry blossoms.

*Info took from Wikipedia

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