Prunus mume is an East Asian and Southeast Asian tree species classified in the Armeniaca section of the genus Prunus subgenus Prunus. Its common names include Chinese plum, Japanese plum, and Japanese apricot. The flower, long a beloved subject in the traditional painting and poetry of East Asia and Vietnam, is usually called plum blossom.
This distinct tree species is related to both the plum and apricot trees. Although generally referred to as a plum in English, it is more closely related to the apricot. In East Asian cuisine (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) and Southeast Asian cuisine (Vietnamese), the fruit of the tree is used in juices, as a flavoring for alcohol, as a pickle and in sauces. It is also used in traditional medicine.
All of that Wikipedia information is fascinating, but the reason I love the plum blossom is that it is usually the earliest fruit tree to blossom in the late winter and early spring. For Florence, that is now!
Because the tree flowers in late winter and early spring, it is highly regarded as a seasonal symbol. For me, it tells me spring is coming or is nearly, almost, here! Hallelujah!
I’ve been all over the city in the past few days, east side, west side, south side…and I’ve spotted some lovely blooming plum trees here and there. Here are my best pictures of this delightful harbinger of la primavera!