|Myrica rubra in garden|
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.
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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 (0.59–0.98 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.
Also called Morella rubra Lour.; Myrica rubra var. acuminata Nakai. It is usually cited as Myrica rubra (Lour.) Siebold & Zuccarini. However, in their publication of 1846, Siebold & Zuccarini provided a description only, with no reference, direct or indirect, to Morella rubra Lour. (1790). Therefore, the name Myrica rubra Siebold & Zuccarini must be treated as new, preventing the combination in Myrica of Loureiro’s earlier name.
Distribution and habitat
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 trees are prolific producers, with a single tree yielding some 100 kilograms 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 cm in diameter, have been developed. Besides fresh consumption, the fruits may be dried, canned, soaked in baijiu (Chinese liquor), or fermented into alcoholic beverages. 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 trade-marked 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 phytochemicals
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
- nitrogen-fixing ability of the root nodules system
- presence of Frankia bacteria having nitrogen-fixing properties in root nodules
- microbial characteristics of the subcanopy soil
- niche characteristics in the forest environment
- growth of pollen tubes
The scientific literature is diverse, with studies of phytochemicals from bark, leaves and fruit. Studies are conducted on polyphenols, particularly ellagic acid, prodelphinidin-type tannins, and anthocyanins, and their possible biological properties in vitro.
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.
- "Myrica rubra". Flora of China. Retrieved June 2, 2010.
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- 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, Mergeay M, Cervantes E, Fernandez MP (October 2004). "Diversity of Frankia strains associated to Myrica gale in Western Europe: impact of host plant (Myrica vs. Alnus) and of edaphic factors". Environmental Microbiology. 6 (10): 1032–1041. doi:10.1111/j.1462-2920.2004.00625.x. PMID 15344928.
- Pozuelo González JM, Gutiérrez Mañero FJ, Llinares Pinel F, Bermúdez de Castro F (April 1992). "[Density and activity of microorganisms of the carbon cycle under the canopy of Myrica gale L.]". Microbiología (in Spanish). 8 (1): 32–38. PMID 1605919.
- Su Z, Wu D, Chen B (January 2003). "[Niche characteristics of dominant populations in natural forest in north Guangdong]". Ying Yong Sheng Tai Xue Bao: Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology (in Chinese). 14 (1): 25–29. PMID 12722433.
- 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.
- Cheng HY, Lin TC, Ishimaru K, Yang CM, Wang KC, Lin CC (October 2003). "In vitro antiviral activity of prodelphinidin B-2 3,3'-di-O-gallate from Myrica rubra". Planta Med. 69 (10): 953–6. doi:10.1055/s-2003-45108. PMID 14648402.
- Bao J, Cai Y, Sun M, Wang G, Corke H (March 2005). "Anthocyanins, flavonols, and free radical scavenging activity of Chinese bayberry (Myrica rubra) extracts and their color properties and stability". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 53 (6): 2327–2332. doi:10.1021/jf048312z. PMID 15769176.
- Sylvestre M, Legault J, Dufour D, Pichette A (April 2005). "Chemical composition and anticancer activity of leaf essential oil of Myrica gale L". Phytomedicine. 12 (4): 299–304. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2003.12.004. PMID 15898708.
- Cheng HY, Lin TC, Ishimaru K, Yang CM, Wang KC, Lin CC (October 2003). "In vitro antiviral activity of prodelphinidin B-2 3,3'-di-O-gallate from Myrica rubra". Planta Medica. 69 (10): 953–956. doi:10.1055/s-2003-45108. PMID 14648402.
- Mihara S, Fujimoto M (June 1993). "The endothelin ETA receptor-specific effect of 50-235, a nonpeptide endothelin antagonist". European Journal of Pharmacology. 246 (1): 33–38. doi:10.1016/0922-4106(93)90006-U. PMID 8354341.
- Wende, Meng Meng. "Ancient and Modern Yangmei Poems". Douban. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
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