Myrica rubra

Botanical Name :Myrica rubra
Family: Myricaceae
Genus: Myrica
Species: M. rubra
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales

Common Names:Yangmei(Chinese), Yamamomo(Japanese),Chinese Bayberry, Japanese Bayberry, Red Bayberry, or Chinese strawberry tree.

Habitat: Myrica rubra 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, Korea, and the Philippines. It grows in forests of C. and S. Japan. Coastal districts in warm countries.

Description:
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.

click & see the pictures

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….click & see the pictures..

In Japan, it is the prefectural flower of K?chi and the prefectural tree of Tokushima. The plant’s name appears in many old Japanese poems.
Cultivation:
Prefers a moist soil. Grows well in an open position in a well-drained soil in sun or light shade. Thrives in any ordinary garden soil. Prefers a lime-free loamy or peaty soil. Not very hardy in Britain, it succeeds outdoors in the milder areas of the country according to one report, whilst another says that it only succeeds in zone 10 and does not tolerate frosts. Plants succeed outdoors in Japan as far north as Tokyo, but it is difficult to get them to fruit there. This plant has been recommended for improvement by selection and breeding for its edible fruit. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Many species in this genus have a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Barely cover the seed and keep it moist. Stored seed germinates more freely if given a 3 month cold stratification and then sown in a cold frame. Germination is usually good. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on in the cold frame for the first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer[K]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Pot up and overwinter in a cold frame. Fair to good percentage[78]. Cuttings of mature wood in November/December in a frame. Layering in spring. Division of suckers in the dormant season. Plant them out direct into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:Itis a subtropical tree grown for its sweet,crimson to dark purple-red, edible fruit…..click & see
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Medicinal Uses:

Astringent, carminative, vulnerary. The stem bark is used as a wash in the treatment of arsenic poisoning, skin diseases, wounds and ulcers. The fruit is carminative, pectoral and stomachic. The seed is used in the treatment of sweaty feet. The plant is used in the treatment of cholera, heart ailments and stomach diseases.
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 medical 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.

Other Uses:
The tree is used as ornaments for parks and streets. It is also a traditional tree used in composing Classical East Asian Gardens.

Agricultural:
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.

Other uses include:
* bottled pasteurized juice or juice blends
* dye prepared from the bark

Known Hazards:  Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, there is a report for some members of this genus that some of the constituents of the wax might be carcinogenic.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is  always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrica_rubra
http://chinesefoodlover.files.wordpress.com/2007/03/yangmeiwenzhou.jpg
http://berrydoctor.com/broadcast/2008/yumberry1.htm
http://www.fruitipedia.com/bayberry.htm

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Myrica+rubra

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