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Monthly Feature Story-March 2019-Japanese Plum

Cultural Tips - Japanese Plum

The Japanese plum ("ume"; sometimes referred to as Japanese apricot) is seen as a symbol of perseverance and hope because the plum blossoms can start to bloom as early as January. Their fragrance can be noticed at even the coldest times of the year.

The plum blossoms are also seen as the first sign of spring. They typically flower in most areas of Japan in February and March, while cherry blossoms don't start blooming until late March or April.

Plum blossoms come in different colors ranging from white and pink to red, which adds to their beauty.

You may have heard of "hanami", the practice of flower viewing. The flower viewing usually refers to cherry blossom viewing nowadays; however, the tradition is actually thought to have begun in the Nara Period (years 710-794AD) with plum blossoms. It wasn't until the Heian Period (years 794-1185AD) that flower viewing came to be associated with cherry blossoms.

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