Knowledge: Difference Between Ume and Sumomo

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Knowledge: Difference Between Ume and Sumomo

Post by IG Team » Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:01 am

Chiisana Hato

So I'm cruising the Web for seasonality of weird plants like chickweed when I found this site that many of you may already be familiar with (BTW, chickweed is Spring if anybody wants to know besides me :smil3: )

http://www.meister-z.com/meister_z/HAIKSZNS.htm

I go down and and find "Plum - Ume". All good so far... I thought.

Then I find "Plum Blossom". 8-O Which is "Sumomo no hana".

So Ume is the tree itself and Sumomo no hana seem to be the blossoms.

I think most of us here refer to the plum blossoms on our kimono as "ume".

Does anyone know if native speakers ever refer to the plum blossoms by the name of the tree instead of the words for "plum blossoms"? :?

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Re: Knowledge: Difference Between Ume and Sumomo

Post by IG Team » Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:02 am

utsusemi

It seems that "sumomo"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_salicina

and "ume"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_mume

are two different plants. I had no idea, so thank you for the question.

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Re: Knowledge: Difference Between Ume and Sumomo

Post by IG Team » Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:02 am

Tsubame

Interesting!! there will be differences on the flowers, or how they are depicted on kimono?

:eek: plum blossoms are from a tree more similar to an apricot?!?
I'm shocked.

And I want to see a kimono or obi with chickweed, I think I've never seen one.

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Re: Knowledge: Difference Between Ume and Sumomo

Post by IG Team » Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:03 am

Keiha

The sumomo blossoms look pretty much identical to ume, but they only come in white, whereas ume are typically mentioned for their deep pink and scarlet blossoms, even though they also come in white. They are two different plants, and the blossoms grow a bit differently. The sumomo blossoms are small and grow very dense, close to the branch. The ume blossoms are larger, and you often see the double blossom with 10+ petals, whereas sumomo have 5 petals (and only grow 5 petals, from what I've found?). Ume also come in a "weeping" variety.

My rule of thumb is, if the blossom is red, then it's ume. If it is white, you can consider it ambiguous, unless it is a double blossom and/or you can discern how the blossoms are growing on a branch. Plus, I think sumomo is more of a Chinese motif than a Japanese one? Using the kanji 李 to search brings a lot of Chinese results, and 酸桃 means sour peach, peaches being a Chinese motif as well. Just my musings.
Chiisana Hato wrote:
Does anyone know if native speakers ever refer to the plum blossoms by the name of the tree instead of the words for "plum blossoms"? :?
The Japanese people I know just call the blossom ume, once it's established that you mean the blossoms. Ume no hana --> ume. I've never actually discussed the fruit lol, except to talk about umeshuu and umeboshi. And when speaking about sumomo, we only ever talked about the fruit and simply called it sumomo. If you look at the 2 plants, ume is clearly the one to inspire more interest in appearance, and I guess sumomo is the tastier of the 2?

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Re: Knowledge: Difference Between Ume and Sumomo

Post by IG Team » Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:03 am

teabot

i can confirm "ume" 梅 refers to tree, blossom, and fruit.

i've only heard sumomo referring to the fruit, although they are definitely very distinct and different fruits. it's just the English translation that makes them ambiguous.

ume are small, green fruits, and hardly anyone eats them straight. they're almost solely used for umeboshi or umeshu.

sumomo is closer to what we think of as a peach. when i show my elementary students a photo of the smaller, yellow peaches we often eat in America, they sometimes confuse it for sumomo. (then again, they also confuse it for donuts... lol) i've never knowingly seen or eaten sumomo, but i get the impression they are eaten straight as fruit.

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Re: Knowledge: Difference Between Ume and Sumomo

Post by IG Team » Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:04 am

Chiisana Hato
Tsubame wrote:And I want to see a kimono or obi with chickweed, I think I've never seen one.
Not that I wouldn't want an obi with chickweed on it, but the item I saw was a Kobukusa - a smallish cloth used in the tea ceremony. :kawaii:

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Re: Knowledge: Difference Between Ume and Sumomo

Post by IG Team » Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:04 am

Fukuemi

I can also confirm that "sumomo" refers to a fruit that is sometimes sold as "plum" (with the English name written in katakana) in supermarkets. In fact, I have never seen "ume" sold in the same way, as a fresh fruit. But there are plenty of "umeshu" bottles in the section for alcoholic beverages.

In my opinion the "plum" tree that is mainly seen in Japan is the "ume" type. I think I have never seen a "sumomo" tree in a park or in the street. My guess is that it is a tree that can be found mainly in orchards rather than in the wild or in towns.

I have read that Japanese seemed to give more importance to the "ume" plum blossom than to the "sakura" blossom before moving the capital to Heian-Kyo (Kyoto). So in the past, it has always been "ume" that had the priority. With such a history, I think we can safely say that the motif seen on so many kimono is the "ume" plum blossom rather than "sumomo no hana", which doesn't seem to be that important in the traditional Japanese culture :)

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Re: Knowledge: Difference Between Ume and Sumomo

Post by IG Team » Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:05 am

Peccantis

"Sumomo" as well as "momo" are both kinds of peach.

Sumomo mo momo mo momo.

:rarr

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