Myrica rubra, also called yangmei (Chinese: 杨梅; pinyin: yángméi; Cantonese: yeung4 mui4; Shanghainese: [jɑ̃.mɛ][tones?]), yamamomo (Japanese: yamamomo; kanji: 山桃; katakana: ヤマモモ, literally, "mountain peach"), Chinese Bayberry, Japanese Bayberry, Red Bayberry, Yumberry, Waxberry, or Chinese strawberry tree (and often mistranslated from Chinese as arbutus) is a subtropical tree grown for its sweet, crimson to dark purple-red, edible fruit.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (June 2009)|
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 (2.0–24 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 Loureiro; Myrica rubra var. acuminata Nakai. It is usually cited as Myrica rubra (Loureiro) by Siebold & Zuccarini. However, in their publication of 1846, Siebold & Zuccarini provided a description only, with no reference, direct or indirect, to Morella rubra Loureiro (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 China, where it has been grown for at least 2000 years. Chinese cultivation is concentrated south of the Yangtze River, where it is of considerable economic importance. Its niche is forests on mountain slopes and valleys at altitudes of 100-1500 m. It is native to Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, and Zhejiang. Also naturalized in Taiwan, Japan, Nepal, Korea, and the Philippines.
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). 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 components
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. Significant progress has been reported on polyphenols, particularly ellagic acid, tannins and anthocyanins, antioxidant activity, anti-cancer and anti-viral properties. An extract from fruit called myricerone blocks a receptor for the peptide, endothelin, an important mediator of blood vessel constriction, indicating potential for drug development.
- "Myrica rubra". Flora of China. http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200006094. Retrieved June 2, 2010.
- Bayberries in a bowl of liquid[unreliable source?]
- 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. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1064330/.
- 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. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC92844/.
- 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.]" (in Spanish; Castilian). Microbiología 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]" (in Chinese). Ying Yong Sheng Tai Xue Bao: Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology 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. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2803377/.
- Fang Z, Zhang M, Tao G, Sun Y, Sun J (October 2006). "Chemical composition of clarified bayberry (Myrica rubra Sieb. et Zucc.) juice sediment". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 54 (20): 7710–7716. doi:10.1021/jf0618980. PMID 17002443.
- 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.