History Of Mulberry Trees, 'Morus Alba,' 'Morus Rubrum,' And 'Morus Nigra'
By The Folks At Ty Ty Nursery
Mulberry trees were well known in the ancient civilizations
of the world. They were famous fruit trees, because of the
delicious berry fruits that were abundantly produced by
fast growing trees-loaded with huge green leaves that were
eaten by livestock, along with the berries, and the leaves
were used in the Orient to fatten silkworms for the silk
trade. General Oglethorpe, in 1733, imported 500 white
mulberry trees to Fort Frederica in Georgia to encourage
silk production at the English colony of Georgia.
William Bartram, the famous early American explorer and
botanist, described his encounter with mulberry trees near
Mobile, Alabama, in his book, Travels, in the year 1773.
Prince's Nursery in 1774 offered for sale 500 white
mulberry trees, 'Morus alba' and 1000 black mulberry trees,
'Morus nigra,' at Flushing, New York. Documents show that
America's first President, George Washington, bought fruit
from this nursery.
Mulberry trees were planted in the landscape of President
Thomas Jefferson 20 feet apart, and the fruit trees lined
both sides of the road that extended around the house at
The silk trade was extremely important in the ancient
civilizations in exchanges of fabrics, rugs, etc. The
caravans of camels that traveled the "Silk Road" from
Turkey to China brought world civilizations in contact with
many valuable products back and forth to be traded, one of
the most desirable and important products was silk. The
mulberry trees, 'Morus alba,' were most desirable for silk
production and gradually were filtered from Oriental
societies to European fields. Many of these mulberry trees
are grown today in Turkey, from where the famous Turkish
silk carpets are distributed throughout the world.
Early Americans such as General Oglethorpe hoped to
establish the silk industry in the American debtor
colonies, but the project was destined for failure for many
reasons. The mulberry trees are very fast growing fruit
trees, and many farmers in the United States and other
countries are hoping to profitably grow the trees for the
production of human and livestock food. The wood of
mulberry trees is very soft and is used for many purposes
in many nations, but not extensively in the United States.
The white mulberry, 'Morus alba,' with the extremely large
crop production of these trees has been observed growing as
a fruit tree in North Carolina according to researcher,
Russell Smith, in Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture that:
white mulberry trees planted by a farmer "who kept pigs and
claimed that one-third their weight was due to the
mulberries falling from the trees-about 625 pounds of pork
to an acre on rather thin, sandy land with little care and
no cultivation." James A. Duke in Handbook of Energy Crops
sees the mulberry fruit as a source of energy, "in South
Korea on producing high yields of ethanol from mulberry
Mulberry trees are considered to be a very important fruit
tree in gardens of the Orient, Europe and the Mideast, and
since new hybrid cultivars have been developed recently,
the demand for these trees has surged in the U.S., where
the grafted trees are rare, expensive and difficult to
obtain. New cultivars are adaptable throughout the U.S.
except Southern Florida, California and Arizona, and some
trees offer stainless fruit, early bearing, rapid growth
and delicious berry quality on berries that dangle from the
stems, some tasting sweet as honey. These syrupy sweet
mulberries are used in Ice Cream, jams, jellies, beverages,
pies, and as stuffing mixtures for game birds.
The fast growing mulberry tree can grow as much as 10ft in
one year, and as a rule will bear a few berries the first
year, some with the richness of sweet cherries. The berries
ripen to a brilliant black color, or red, pink, or white
and are delectably fragrantly sweet and about two inches
long, like a cooling blend and taste of raspberry and
strawberry. The mulberry is excellent for fresh eating and
for cooking pies. Some mulberries when dead ripe are so
soft that just picking them breaks the fragile skin,
staining your fingers purple with juice. This means that as
a commercial berry available from grocery shelves, forget
it, but nevertheless: the mulberries only need to travel as
far as your mouth.
This choice mulberry fruit is practically seedless with a
crisp, sweet flavor when eaten directly from the tree.
Every child in your neighborhood will learn when the
berries from this outstanding tree are ripening in early
May. Most cultivars of hybrid mulberry trees are well
adapted in most areas of the United States.
The dessert quality berries are excellent and honey sweet
for picking directly off the tree and contain high
concentrations of fruity sugar that makes the berries
useful to process for jams, jellies and pies. The mature
height of mulberry trees is 30 feet.
New grafted cultivars of mulberry trees are gaining lots of
attention from the backyard gardener. Some of the
recommended new cultivars of mulberry fruit trees are White
Mulberry, 'Morus alba' 'Whitey;' Superberry Mulberry,
'Morus nigra' 'Superberry;' Black Beauty Mulberry, 'Morus
nigra' 'Black Beauty' plant patent 4913; Pakistan Mulberry,
'Morus rubra' 'Pakistan;' Persian Mulberry, 'Morus nigra'
'Shah;' Bachuus Noir Mulberry, 'Morus nigra' 'Bachuus
Noir;' and the Red Gelato Mulberry, 'Morus rubrum' 'Red
Did you know The Silkworm Shop Sells Mulberry Seeds?
We Do! Click Here
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