Mulberry

Family: MoraceaeMorus

Mulberry trees have probably been cultivated for many thousands of years. The black mulberry, Morus nigra, which may have originated from western Asia, was certainly known to the early Greeks and Romans who grew it for its delicious, juicy, black fruit.

The white mulberry, M. alba, from China, was grown mainly for its leaves which were used to feed silkworms. The red mulberry, M. rubra, is native to North America, the red fruit ripening to dark purple. These trees are deciduous, with entire or lobed, toothed leaves and small flowers. Mulberries are eaten fresh or made into jam.

Species

M. alba, white mulberry, is a large tree, growing 12-18 m (40-60 ft) tall, with clusters of white, cylindrical fruits up to 2.5 cm (1 in) long which turn pink and then red. This ornamental species has spreading, pendulous branches.

The common or black mulberry, M. nigra, is a large, spreading tree, 15 m (50 ft) tall, with rough, dark green leaves. The juicy, dark red fruit is delicious, but stains the hands and clothes. There are several good fruiting cultivars including the semi-dwarf 'Black Beauty which grows no more than 4.5m in height.

M. rubra is very ornamental but the fruit can be poor.

Cultivation

Plant in any well-drained garden soil in a sunny position. Avoid growing mulberry trees near paths or clothes lines as the fruit is very juicy and leaves long-lasting stains. Propagate from hardwood cuttings taken during the dormant period. Seedling trees often appear in gardens as the fruit is eaten by birds.

Climate

Zone 5.

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Muehlenbeckia      Murraya