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Myrica rubra

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Myrica rubra
Myrica rubra grown in Fremont, California
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fagales
Family: Myricaceae
Genus: Myrica
M. rubra
Binomial name
Myrica rubra
  • Morella rubra Lour.
  • Myrica rubra var. acuminata Nakai.

Myrica rubra, also called yangmei (simplified Chinese: 杨梅; traditional Chinese: 楊梅; pinyin: yángméi; Cantonese: yeung4 mui4; Shanghainese: [ɦiɐ̃².mɛ⁴]), yamamomo (Japanese: ヤマモモ), Chinese bayberry, red bayberry, yumberry, waxberry, or Chinese strawberry (and often mistranslated from Chinese as arbutus) is a subtropical tree grown for its fruit.


Myrica rubra is an evergreen tree that grows to a height of up to 10–20 m (33–66 ft) high, with smooth gray bark and a uniform spherical to hemispherical crown. Leaves are leathery, bare, elliptic-obovate to oval lanceolate in shape, wedge-shaped at the base and rounded to pointed or tapered at the apex, margin is serrated or serrated in the upper half, with a length of 5–14 cm (2.0–5.5 in) and a width of 1–4 cm (0.39–1.57 in). Leaves are alternately arranged on the branches are divided into petiole and leaf blade. The petiole is 2–10 mm (0.079–0.394 in) long. The leaf underside is pale green and sparsely to moderately golden glandular, the top surface is dark green.[1]

The species is dioecious. Male flowers with simple or unobtrusively branched bracts, are held in inflorescences individually or occasionally in groups of a few inflorescences in the leaf axils. Female flowers are 1–3 cm (0.39–1.18 in) long, in inflorescences with bare stems, the bracts almost circular with a diameter of about 1 millimeter, and have golden glands on the underside. The male flowers are accompanied by two to four egg-shaped, sparse lanceolate leaves. Each male flower contains four to six stamens with dark red, elliptical anthers.

Female inflorescences are single with multi-flowered spikes of 0.5–1.5 cm (0.20–0.59 in)in length standing in the leaf axils. The rhachis is hairy and glandular. The cover sheets overlap, are hairless and only unobtrusively glandular. Female flowers are accompanied by four leaves. The upper ovary is velvety hairy, with a stylus with a two-lobed scar. There are two slender scar lobes that are colored bright red.

The flowering period extends from March to April in China, with fruits developing from May to June. The fruit is spherical, typically 1.5–2.5 cm (0.6–1 in) in diameter, with diameters up to 3 centimeters, a knobby surface. The surface is a thick-skinned, typically a crimson red, but may vary from white to purple, with similar or somewhat lighter flesh color. At the center is a single seed, with a diameter about half that of the whole fruit. The flesh is sweet and very tart.


The plant was first described by João de Loureiro in Flora Cochinchinensis, 2, page 548 in 1790 under the name (basionym) Morella rubra [2] The species was moved to the genus Myrica as Myrica rubra (Lour.) Siebold & Zucc. by Philipp Franz von Siebold and Joseph Gerhard von Zuccarini in treatises of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. Mathematical and natural science class, volume 4, number 3, page 230 published.

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.[3][4] Among regions in China, accessions varied within regions, indicating extensive gene mixing.[3] Nearly 100 cultivars of M. rubra exist in China alone.[3] Zhejiang Province is a possible center of diversity for the plant in China.[4]

Chromosome count is 2n = 16[5]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

It is native to eastern Asia, mainly in south-central China in province of Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, and Zhejiang; Japan, Korea, and the Philippines in forests on mountain slopes and valleys at elevations of 100–1,500 metres (330–4,920 ft).[1] Seeds are dispersed by Japanese macaques[6] and Yakushima macaques.[7]


M. rubra plate from The American Garden 1873
M. rubra grown in Fremont, California

Chinese cultivation is concentrated south of the Yangtze River, where it has considerable economic importance and has been grown for at least 2000 years.[8]

It tolerates poor acidic soils. The root system is 5–60 cm (2.0–23.6 in) deep, with no obvious taproot.

Myrica rubra was first introduced into the United States by Frank Nicholas Meyer from seed purchased from the Yokohama Nursery Co. in Japan and published in the Bulletin of Foreign Plant Introductions in 1918.[9] Plants from the collection were grown and fruited in Chico, California and in Brooksville, Florida by David Fairchild.[10] M. rubra is being commercialized in California by Calmei, a California corporation.[11][12] Trees are prolific producers, with a single tree yielding some 100 kilograms (220 lb) of fruit.[13] 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.[14]

The tree is used as ornaments for parks and streets. It is also a traditional tree used in composing classical East Asian gardens.


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.

In the Philippines, they are dried and preserved in brine and vinegar and made into champóy, the local version of the Chinese huamei.[15][16]

Other uses include

Research and phytochemicals[edit]

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

Cultural significance[edit]

Archaeological and written evidence suggest that yangmei cultivation first took place in China over 2,000 years ago during the Han dynasty.[13] Yangmei is mentioned throughout Chinese literature, including several appearances in Li Bai's poems.[23]

In Japan, it is the prefectural flower of Kōchi and the prefectural tree of Tokushima. The plant's name appears in many old Japanese poems.


  1. ^ a b "Myrica rubra in Flora of China @ efloras.org". eFloras.org Home. 2000-06-09. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  2. ^ Loureiro, João de; Lisboa., Academia das Ciências de (1790). Flora cochinchinensis. Vol. v.2. Retrieved 2020-07-30. {{cite book}}: |website= ignored (help)
  3. ^ a b c 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.
  4. ^ a b 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.
  5. ^ "Name - Myrica rubra (Lour.) Siebold & Zucc". Tropicos. 2020-07-30. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  6. ^ Terakawa, Mari; Isagi, Yuji; Matsui, Kiyoshi; Yumoto, Takakazu (2008-08-26). "Microsatellite analysis of the maternal origin of Myrica rubra seeds in the feces of Japanese macaques". Ecological Research. 24 (3): 663–670. doi:10.1007/s11284-008-0537-6. ISSN 0912-3814. S2CID 40025805.
  7. ^ Agetsuma, Naoki; Noma, Naohiko (1995). "Rapid shifting of foraging pattern by Yakushima macaques (Macaca fuscata yakui) in response to heavy fruiting of Myrica rubra". International Journal of Primatology. 16 (2): 247–260. doi:10.1007/bf02735480. S2CID 1265349.
  8. ^ Sun, C; Huang, H; Xu, C; Li, X; Chen, K (2013). "Biological activities of extracts from Chinese bayberry (Myrica rubra Sieb. et Zucc.): A review". Plant Foods for Human Nutrition. 68 (2): 97–106. doi:10.1007/s11130-013-0349-x. PMID 23605674. S2CID 44569467.
  9. ^ Bulletin of Foreign Plant Introductions. 1918. p. 1522-IA2. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  10. ^ Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences. Washington Academy of Sciences. 1922. p. 275. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  11. ^ "Calmei". Calmei.
  12. ^ "Yum's the word". California Bountiful. 2012-03-27. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  13. ^ a b 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.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ Polistico, Edgie (2017). Philippine Food, Cooking, & Dining Dictionary. Anvil Publishing, Inc. ISBN 9786214200870.
  16. ^ "Tsampoy". Tagalog Lang. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  17. ^ Vandenbosch KA, Torrey JG (November 1984). "Consequences of Sporangial Development for Nodule Function in Root Nodules of Comptonia peregrina and Myrica gale". Plant Physiology. 76 (3): 556–560. doi:10.1104/pp.76.3.556. PMC 1064330. PMID 16663881.
  18. ^ 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. Bibcode:2001ApEnM..67.2116H. doi:10.1128/AEM.67.5.2116-2122.2001. PMC 92844. PMID 11319089.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Wende, Meng Meng. "Ancient and Modern Yangmei Poems". Douban. Retrieved 14 September 2018.

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