China Pictorials 中国

Pictures from China

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

China's national flower-Plum (Prunus mume) 梅花-中国的国花

Prunus mume, or Chinese plum is a species of Asian plum in the family Rosaceae. The flower, long a beloved subject in the traditional painting of East Asia and Vietnam, is usually translated as plum blossom.

The tree originates from China, and was brought to Korea and Japan later. The tree is cultivated for its fruit and flowers. Although generally referred to as a plum in the English language, it is actually more closely related to the apricot.

In China, there are over 300 recorded cultivars of mei, which can be broadly divided by colour into white, pink, red, purple, and light green types.

One of the most beloved flowers in China, the plum blossoms are frequently depicted in Chinese art and poetry for centuries. The Chinese sees its blossoms as both as a symbol of winter as well as a harbinger of spring. It is precisely for this reason that the blossoms are so beloved, as they bloom most vibrantly amidst the winter snow, after most other plants have shed their leaves, and before other flowers appear. They are seen as an example of resilience and perseverance in the face of
adversity, and more recently have also been used as a metaphor to symbolize revolutionary struggle since the turn of the 20th Century.

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