Ripe mulberry on tree
|Scientific classification |
- Morus alba - White Mulberry
- Morus australis - Chinese Mulberry
- Morus indica - Indian Mulberry
- Morus microphylla - Texas Mulberry
- Morus nigra - Black Mulberry
- Morus rubra - Red Mulberry
- Morus serrata - Himalayan Mulberry
- For other meanings, see Mulberry (disambiguation).
Mulberry refers both to the mulberry tree and to the fruit of that tree. It also refers to the closely related Paper Mulberry Broussonetia papyrifera.
The mulberries are small to medium-sized trees native to warm temperate areas of Asia and North America. They are fast-growing when young, but soon become slow-growing and rarely exceed 10-15 m tall. The leaves are alternately arranged, simple, often lobed, more often lobed on juvenile shoots than on mature trees, and toothed on the margin. The fruit is a multiple fruit, 2-3 cm long, red ripening dark purple.
The fruit is edible and is widely used in some places. The fruit of the Black Mulberry, native to southwest Asia, and the Red Mulberry, native to eastern North America, have the best flavour. The fruit of the White Mulberry, an east Asian species which is extensively naturalized in urban regions of eastern North America, is insipid in flavour.
Uses and cultivation
Mulberry leaves, particularly those of the White Mulberry, are also economically important as the sole food source of the silkworm, whose cocoon is used to make silk.
Mulberries can be grown from seed, and this is often advised as seedling-grown trees are generally of better shape and health. However, they are most often planted from large cuttings, which take root readily.
Immature mulberry fruits are known to contain tetrahydrocannabinol.