We need to raise £10,000 from user donations to get our finances in balance. More >>>

Follow Us:


Prunus mume - (Siebold.)Siebold.&Zucc.

Common Name Japanese Apricot, Japanese Flowering, Apricot
Family Rosaceae
USDA hardiness 6-8
Known Hazards Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
Habitats Thickets in W. China, 300 - 2500 metres[184]. Forested slopes, beside streams, slopes along trails, sparse forests, mountains at elevations of 1700 - 3100 metres[266].
Range E. Asia - Chine, Korea.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Prunus mume Japanese Apricot, Japanese Flowering, Apricot

Prunus mume Japanese Apricot, Japanese Flowering, Apricot


Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.


Bloom Color: Pink, White. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Mid spring. Form: Rounded, Vase.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Prunus mume is a deciduous Tree growing to 9 m (29ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.


Armeniaca mume.


Woodland Garden Secondary; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers;  Fruit;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[2, 46, 61, 183]. Hard and sour even when fully ripe, it is scarcely edible[2, 11]. It is, however, widely used in the Orient where it is usually pickled and then used as a condiment and a vegetable[2, 11]. This is the umboshi plum that can be found in oriental stores. It is preserved in salt and used as a relish in rice dishes etc[183]. The fruit contains about 0.9% protein, 18.9% carbohydrate, 0.6% ash, no fat. The fruit is about 3cm in diameter and contains one large seed[200]. The flowers are used as a flavouring in tea[2, 183]. Seed - raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter - see the notes above on toxicity. Young budlings[183]. No more details are given.

Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Fruit (Dry weight)
  • 388 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 9.7g; Fat: 13.4g; Carbohydrate: 67.9g; Fibre: 10.4g; Ash: 9g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 82mg; Phosphorus: 269mg; Iron: 13.4mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 60mg; Potassium: 2328mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 149mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.37mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.37mg; Niacin: 3.73mg; B6: 0mg; C: 75mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes:

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antibacterial;  Antipyretic;  Antispasmodic;  Astringent;  Carminative;  Cholagogue;  Febrifuge;  Pectoral;  
Sialagogue;  Vermifuge.

The unripe fruit is antibacterial, antipyretic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, cholagogue, pectoral, sialagogue and vermifuge[116, 147, 174, 176, 178, 238]. The fruit has a broad-spectrum antibacterial activity[279]. Cooling and refreshing, it is mixed with other herbs and used internally in the treatment of bronchitis, chronic coughs, chronic diarrhoea and roundworms[174, 238, 279]. The fruit is also used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery, to stop bleeding and to ease coughs[254]. Externally, it is applied to fungal skin infections, corns and warts[238]. The half-ripe smoked fruit is considered to be antispasmodic, carminative and febrifuge[218]. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being[238].

Other Uses


A green dye can be obtained from the leaves[168]. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit[168].

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Specimen. Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil, growing well on limestone[11, 200]. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present[1]. Requires a sunny position and a sheltered site[11]. This species is hardy to about -15°c[184], it succeeds when grown against a sunny wall in Britain or in a sheltered woodland[184]. Much cultivated in China and Japan for its edible fruit, there are many named varieties[11, 184]. White-flowered forms possess a sweet perfume, but red-flowered forms have no scent[245]. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged[238]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200]. Special Features:Not North American native, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Fragrant flowers, Blooms are very showy.


Seed - requires 2 - 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[200]. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible[200]. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate[113]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame[11, 200]. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame[200]. Layering in spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Prunus africanaPygeum05
Prunus alabamensisAlabama Cherry21
Prunus alleghaniensisAllegheny Plum, Davis' plum31
Prunus americanaAmerican Plum, American Wild Plum, Wild Plum32
Prunus americana lanata 31
Prunus andersoniiDesert Peach22
Prunus angustifoliaChickasaw Plum, Watson's plum, Hally Jolivette Cherry31
Prunus angustifolia watsoniiSand Plum41
Prunus apetalaClove Cherry21
Prunus arabica 21
Prunus armeniacaApricot33
Prunus aviumWild Cherry, Sweet cherry42
Prunus besserianaDwarf Almond21
Prunus besseyiWestern Sand Cherry41
Prunus bifrons 21
Prunus bokharensisBokhara Plum21
Prunus brigantinaBriançon Apricot41
Prunus buergeriana 21
Prunus campanulataTaiwan Cherry21
Prunus canescensGreyleaf Cherry31
Prunus capsica 21
Prunus carolinianaAmerican Cherry Laurel, Carolina laurelcherry, Laurel Cherry,21
Prunus cerasiferaCherry Plum, Myrobalan Plum, Newport Cherry Plum, Pissard Plum41
Prunus cerasifera divaricata 41
Prunus cerasoidesWild Himalayan Cherry22
Prunus cerasusSour Cherry12
Prunus cerasus austeraMorello Cherry31
Prunus cerasus capronianaKentish Red Cherry31
Prunus cerasus frutescensBush Sour Cherry31
Prunus cerasus marascaMaraschino Cherry31


Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment

Prunus mume

Administrator .

Jan 8 2011 12:00AM

Tom, that is never called "plum wine" in Japan. It is called "umeshu".



Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Daver   Mon Jul 9 2007

I would love to find some selected varieties of these for umeboshi (particularly brown rot resistant varieties or large fruited ones). If anyone knows of a good source, please point me to it!

michele kellerhals   Thu Dec 6 2007

Does anyone have information about consumption of the fruit of Prunus Mume fruit in UK or Europe ? Thank you. Michele

tom   Thu Nov 13 2008

The Variety Nanko Ume is the best variety for umeboshi.

Tom   Fri May 15 2009

Soak Prunus Mume fruit in spirits such as vodka or brandy for 6 months for a delicious alcoholic beverage called plum wine in Japan.

marchand   Fri Aug 28 2009

recherche vinaigre de prunus mume

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.

2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.

3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Prunus mume  
All the information contained in these pages is Copyright (C) Plants For A Future, 1996-2012.
Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567,
Web Design & Management
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some information cannot be used for commercial reasons or be modified (but some can). Please view the copyright link for more information.