Myrica rubra, also called yangmei (Chinese: 杨梅; pinyin: yángméi; Cantonese: yeung4 mui4; Shanghainese: [jɑ̃.mɛ][tones?]), yamamomo (Japanese: ヤマモモ, "mountain peach"), Chinese bayberry, Japanese bayberry, red bayberry, yumberry, waxberry, or Chinese strawberry (and often mistranslated from Chinese as arbutus) is a subtropical tree grown for its sweet, crimson to dark purple-red, fruit.
|Myrica rubra in garden|
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It is a small to medium-sized evergreen tree growing up to 10–20 m (33–66 ft) high, with smooth gray bark and a uniform spherical to hemispherical crown. It is dioecious, with separate male and female plants. It tolerates poor acidic soils. The root system is 5–60 cm (2.0–23.6 in) deep, with no obvious taproot.
The fruit is spherical, 1.5–2.5 cm (0.6–1 in) in diameter, with a knobby surface. The surface color is typically a deep, brilliant red, but may vary from white to purple. The flesh color is similar to surface color, or somewhat lighter. The flesh is sweet and very tart. At the center is a single seed, with a diameter about half that of the whole fruit.
Myrica rubra is also called Morella rubra Lour., Myrica rubra var. acuminata Nakai. In studies of germplasm, it was clearly distinguished from wax myrtle, and could be subdivided into two groups unrelated to the sex of the plant, but more so by the geographic region in China where the accession originated. Among regions in China, accessions varied within regions, indicating extensive gene mixing. Nearly 100 cultivars of M. rubra exist in China alone. Zhejiang Province is a possible center of diversity for the plant in China.
Distribution and habitatEdit
It is native to eastern Asia, mainly in south-central China where it has been grown for at least 2000 years. Chinese cultivation is concentrated south of the Yangtze River, where it has considerable economic importance. Its niche is forests on mountain slopes and valleys at altitudes of 100–1,500 metres (330–4,920 ft).
Yangmei is being commercialized in California by Calmei, a California corporation. Yangmei trees are prolific producers, with a single tree yielding some 100 kilograms (220 lb) of fruit. As of 2007, 865,000 acres were devoted to yangmei production in China – double the amount of acres utilized in apple production in the United States.
Some cultivars with large fruit, up to 4 centimetres (1.6 in) in diameter, have been developed. Besides fresh consumption, the fruits may be dried, canned, soaked in baijiu (Chinese liquor), or fermented into alcoholic beverages, such as wine, beer, or cocktails. Dried fruits are often prepared in the manner of dry huamei (Prunus mume with flavorings such as licorice or salty licorice). The juice has been commercialised under the brand name "Yumberry" under which name it is trademarked in the EU. In Yunnan Province in China, there are two main types of yangmei, a sour type used for making dried fruit and a sweet type used for juice and fresh eating.
Other uses include
- bottled pasteurized juice or juice blends
- dye prepared from the bark
- yogurt flavoring
- blended jam and preserves
Research and phytochemicalsEdit
Various species of Myrica have been studied scientifically for horticultural characteristics or phytochemicals implicated with health benefits. Dating to 1951, the horticultural literature includes studies on
Archaeological and written evidence suggest that yangmei cultivation first took place in China over 2,000 years ago during the Han Dynasty. Yangmei is mentioned throughout Chinese literature, including several appearances in Li Bai's poems.
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- Zhang, Shuiming; Gao, Zhongshan; Xu, Changjie; Chen, Kunsong; Wang, Guoyun; Zheng, Jintu; Lu, Ting (2009). "Genetic diversity of Chinese bayberry (Myrica rubra Sieb. et Zucc.) accessions revealed by amplified fragment length polymorphism". HortScience. 44 (2): 487–491. doi:10.21273/hortsci.44.2.487. ISSN 0018-5345.
- Jia, Hui-min; Jiao, Yun; Wang, Guo-yun; Li, Ying-hui; Jia, Hui-juan; Wu, Hong-xia; Chai, Chun-yan; Dong, Xiao; Guo, Yanping; Zhang, Liping; Gao, Qi-kang; Chen, Wei; Song, Li-juan; van de Weg, Eric; Gao, Zhong-shan (19 May 2015). "Genetic diversity of male and female Chinese bayberry (Myrica rubra) populations and identification of sex-associated markers". BMC Genomics. 16 (1): 394. doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1602-5. ISSN 1471-2164. PMC 4436740. PMID 25986380.
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- "Calmei". Calmei.
- Joyce, Daryl; Tahir Khurshid; Shiming Liu; Graeme McGregor; Jianrong Li; Yeuming Jiang (December 2005). Red bayberry – a new and exciting crop for Australia?. Barton, Australian Capital Territory: Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. ISBN 978-1-74151-144-4. OCLC 223913003. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
- Karp, David (12 December 2007). "From China, Only in a Bottle, a Berry With an Alluring Name". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
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- Huguet V, Batzli JM, Zimpfer JF, Normand P, Dawson JO, Fernandez MP (May 2001). "Diversity and Specificity of Frankia Strains in Nodules of Sympatric Myrica gale, Alnus incana, and Shepherdia canadensis Determined by rrs Gene Polymorphism". Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 67 (5): 2116–2122. doi:10.1128/AEM.67.5.2116-2122.2001. PMC 92844. PMID 11319089.
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- Sogo A, Tobe H (January 2006). "Mode of Pollen-Tube Growth in Pistils of Myrica rubra (Myricaceae): A Comparison with Related Families". Annals of Botany. 97 (1): 71–77. doi:10.1093/aob/mcj015. PMC 2803377. PMID 16291781.
- Wende, Meng Meng. "Ancient and Modern Yangmei Poems". Douban. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
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