February 11, 2012

Yellow Ume Flowers

(A house in Kitazawa.)

The first thing I thought when I saw this tree was, "I didn't know that ume (Chinese plum) flowers came in yellow."

They don't, actually. Although the flowers certainly look like ume, these are part of the Chimonanthus family. Confusingly, these flowers are called ro-bai in Japanese, and the kanji is 蝋梅, "wax-ume". It calls to mind both the waxiness and yellowness of beeswax.

How nice to see such brightly-colored flowers blooming in the dead of winter!

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