What is Yangmei?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2019
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Yangmei, also called red bayberry or yamamomo, is a type of sweet fruit native to Asia. It is almost unheard of in the United States, although the tree can be found growing along many urban streets. The fruit is very high in vitamin C and has been cultivated for thousands of years in China, where today it is eaten raw, fermented into alcoholic beverages, and used to produce a distinct reddish dye that is extracted from the bark of the tree.

The tree grows up to 32 feet (10 meters) in temperate environments. The yangmei fruit ripens on the tree during the summer months, with a very small ripeness window of only a few weeks. The tree is an evergreen, with pale silvery bark and slender green leaves. It is often planted in areas with poor soil because it is a nitrogen fixer and will replenish the soil it is grown in. For this reason, it makes an excellent crop for fields that need long term nitrogen restoration, because it will produce profitable fruit while renewing the soil.

The yangmei fruit is round and red, and somewhat resembles a strawberry in flavor as well as texture. These fruits are typically very small, with most being marginally larger than cherries. However, yangmei comes in an assortment of sweet and sour flavors, with stringier pulp than is typically found in the strawberry. In the center of the knobbly fruits, a small pit can be found.


Because of the brief window to harvest, yangmei trees have been known to make a mess of public streets when they drop fruit. The pulpy reddish mass that results is well known in temperate climates all over the world, where the tree is frequently employed as an ornamental, although few people realize that they are stepping on edible fruit. The fruit must be kept chilled from harvest to consumer, and for this reason, it is often expensive.

Yangmei fruit is, unfortunately, highly perishable. In China, it is often pressed into juice that can be transported or fermented, because it will keep longer than the delicate fruit. If consumers can obtain yangmei, they should plan to store it under refrigeration for no more than one week, wrapped and kept away from other fruit. When shopping for it, people should look for fruit with an even rich red color, no bruising, and no moisture. The flesh will be creamy in color, and people who eat it should make sure to discard the pits.


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Post 7

A yangmei fruit is a very interesting fruit. There is a lot of interesting information about it. I hope others will submit their observations, too.

Post 2

Yangmei is a little sweet and very tart. It is also used for fermenting into alcoholic beverages. The actual word yangmei means mountain peach.

Post 1

Good description. I am eating Yangmei, from Xi Shan, near Suzhou, Jiangsu Province now in June. Women have been selling them in the streets for some time now, although they may have come from farther south. So I would say they are an early summer fruit harvested at the same time as local peaches which makes sense as they are related.


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