Black Mulberry (Morus nigra) - leaves, branches & fruit - August 2018
A Mulberry tree by the Cathedral grounds of Exeter, UK === Mulberry is a deciduous tree that belongs to the fig family. There are 10 to 16 species of mulberry that can be found in warm, subtropical and temperate parts of the world. The best known and most commonly cultivated species are red, white and black mulberry. Mulberry grows in the moist forests and near the streams, on a well-drained soil, exposed to direct sunlight. Mulberry provides excellent shade, but people rarely plant it in the urban areas because of the huge quantities of highly allergenic pollen. Mulberry can reach 30 to 80 feet in height. White mulberry is the largest, black mulberry the smallest type of mulberry (it grows in the form of shrub) Mulberry has oval leaves with irregularly lobed or toothed edges. Bright green colour of the leaves changes into yellow during the autumn. Leaves are alternately arranged on the branches. Mulberry can produce male and female flowers on the same plant (monoecious plant) or on the separate trees (dioecious plant). Flowers are greenish or creamy-coloured, arranged in short catkins designed for the pollination by wind. Some types of mulberry are able to produce fruit without pollination. Fruit of mulberry is an aggregate fruit composed of numerous small drupes (miniature fruit filled with one seed) located around centrally positioned stem. There are several species, Morus nigra, also known as the Black Mulberry is the main fruting species, and also the best suited to the UK climate. Morus alba, the White Mulberry, also produces edible fruits but is primarily grown for its ornamental value Unlike in raspberries, stem remains in the centre of the fruit after the harvest. Mulberry tree starts to produce fruit 10 years after planting. The Colour of the fruit depends on the variety. It can be black, purple, pink, red or white. Fruit of mulberry is rich source of vitamins C, A, E and K and minerals such as potassium, iron and magnesium. Fruit of mulberry can be consumed raw or in the form of jams, muffins and pies. Fruitless varieties of mulberry are cultivated in ornamental purposes. Leaves of white mulberry are important source of food for the silkworms (caterpillars of silk moth). Caterpillars encapsulate themselves into the casings made of silk threads that are used in the industry of silk. Cultivation of white mulberry for the manufacture of silk is few thousand years old tradition in China. Mulberry is associated with evil spirits in Germany due to ancient belief that devil uses root of mulberry tree to polish his boots. Ancient Romans used leaves of white mulberry in treatment of diseases of mouth, trachea and lungs. Native Americans used mulberry as laxative and as a cure for dysentery. Orange, red, purple, black, and blue pigments isolated from the fruit of mulberry are used as colouring agents in the industry of food and fabrics. Lightweight wood of mulberry is used in the manufacture of fence posts and barrels. Branches of mulberry are used in the manufacture of baskets. Red mulberry can survive up to 75 years, while black mulberry can live and produce fruit for hundreds of years. Mulberries can be grown in containers for 10-15 years if watered carefully in summer In a 100-g (3.5-oz) serving, raw mulberries provide 43 Calories, 44% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin C, and 14% of the DV for iron. During the Angkorian age of the Khmer Empire of Southeast Asia, monks at Buddhist temples made paper from the bark of mulberry trees. The paper was used to make books, known as kraing White and red mulberry fruits (and hybrid fruits) are ready for harvest in late spring. The fruit of black mulberries ripen in summer to late summer. The fruits of white mulberries are often harvested by spreading a sheet on the ground and shaking the limbs. A surprising quantity can be gathered from a comparatively small and young tree. Black mulberry fruits are more difficult to pick. As the berries are squeezed to pull them loose, they tend to collapse, staining the hands (and clothing) with blood red juice. Unwashed the berries will keep several days in a refrigerator in a covered container. The ripe fruits of the black mulberry contain about 9% sugar with malic and citric acid. The berries can be eaten out of hand or used in any way that other berries are used, such as in pies, tarts, puddings or sweetened and pureed as a sauce. Slightly unripe fruits are best for making pies and tarts. Mulberries blend well with other fruits, especially pears and apples. They can also be made into wine and make an excellent dried fruit, especially the black varieties. ==== Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae (unranked): Angiosperms (unranked): Eudicots (unranked): Rosids Order: Rosales Family: Moraceae Tribe: Moreae Genus: Morus
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