Ume vs. Sumomo: Japanese Plums
When it comes to Japanese plums, what comes to many people’s minds would be Ume (梅) or Sumomo (スモモ).
As you may know, the original home of both is China.
Sumomo has the English name, Chinese plum or Japanese plum, while Ume is also known as Japanese apricot.
Ume vs. Sumomo
Ume has the botanical name Prunus mume, while Sumomo is Prunus salicina.
They are both deciduous trees belonging to the genus Prunus in the Rosaceae family.
But the two plants differ in some respects.
As I wrote many times, Ume is the plum representing Japan’s winter, blooming from February to March, preceding Sakura in the spring.
On the other hand, Sumomo blossoms in April, in the same season as Momo or peach, after Ume.
Ume and Sumomo feature a tart taste and look like the same thing.
But unlike the latter, the former fruit has fuzz. Plus, immature blue Ume plums contain a toxin called amygdalin.
While ripe Sumomo is generally sweet and edible as is,
Ume is sour even when it has fully ripened and is usually processed, often used as a flavoring or eaten as Umeboshi.