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White Mulberry

Introduction of White Mulberry

            Scientific name - Morus alba

White mulberry (Morus alba L.) is a deciduous tree native to China, but now found throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. It is well-known for its edible fruit, which is often used in jams, jellies, and desserts. The fruit is also frequently used to make medicinal teas and syrups.

Morus Alba is a transitory, small to medium sized mulberry tree that is fast growing, also known as white mulberry, it grows up to 10 to 20 m tall. Falling off at maturity in moderate regions, they are evergreen in tropical regions. Flower buds of white mulberry are single sex catkins male catkins are 2 to 3.5 cm long and female catkins 1 to 2 cm long. Even though they may crop up on the same tree, male and female flowers are on separate trees. Seeds are widely dispersed by birds; it eats the fruit and excretes the seeds.

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Nutritional Value of White Mulberry

White mulberry is a traditional remedy in many cultures, and has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. Today, it is still used to treat skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne. It also has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties, and is thought to help protect against certain diseases including cancer. The leaves are also used to make tea, which is believed to have calming and relaxing properties.

Amount Per Serving
Calories 130
Calories From Fat 10
Total Fat 1g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 10%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Sugars 18g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A 2% Calcium 10%
Vitamin C 190% Iron 30%

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Health Benefits of White Mulberry

There are more than a few references for Morus Alba use in atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, infection, and neurodegenerative disorders. The root juice of white mulberry agglutinates the blood and kills worms in the digestive system. The leaf juice is used to prevent throat infections and inflammation and it is its diaphoretic and emollient properties helps with this action. Having a cooling and laxative property, the fruit juice is also use to treat fevers, colds, diarrhea, malaria, amoebiasis, constipation, and intestinal worms.

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White mulberry trees can reach up to 30 feet in height, with a broad crown and long, drooping branches. The bark is smooth and grayish-brown in color. The leaves are large, ovate to heart-shaped, and are dark green and shiny on top, while the bottom is paler and downy. The flowers are small, white, and fragrant, and occur in clusters along the branches. The white fruits are a bit tart, and are easily recognizable by their long, thin shape and white color.

White mulberry is a hardy tree, and can tolerate a wide range of soil types, though it prefers a fertile, well-drained soil. It is tolerant of drought and can even withstand some flooding. It is moderately fast-growing, and is often used as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens, as well as for its edible fruit. The tree is also popular among beekeepers, as the flowers are attractive to bees.

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White mulberry cultivation for silkworms began over four thousand years and the species is now extensively planted and widely naturalized throughout the warm temperate world. In the urban areas of Eastern North America, they’ve become widely naturalized, where it hybridizes willingly with a locally native red mulberry (Morus rubra). The serious concern for long-term genetic viability has made them listed as an invasive plant in parts of North America.

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Even though the seeds of white mulberry take root better after stratifying one to three months before planting, the seed should be sown as soon as extorted from the fruit. Although it takes a period of 10 years or more for the tree to grow well, mulberries can be grown from seed.

One of the most common methods used for grafting mulberries include sprig budding. Some of the other common methods include hardwood, softwood and root cuttings. On the lower end of the scion, sloping cut is made; in the rootstock a T-cut is made. The shoot is then inserted into the T and sealed and wrapped. Despite the incompatibilities between white and black mulberries, other successful grafts are also used. When taken during the midsummer season, softwood cuttings of white mulberries root easily, however they are treated with rooting hormone. Red mulberries are less easily embedded, coming to black, there is a tendency to bleed out, and hence black mulberries are difficult to propagate to some extent.

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Interesting Facts

In the eastern deciduous forest, red mulberry is the only native mulberry. Leaves of the white mulberry are the natural food of silkworms, common in Illinois; it was pioneered from Asia by the British in the 1700s in a failed attempt to establish a silkworm industry. Currently, they are widespread throughout the eastern part of the United States and the tree grows wildly which is now widespread.

The presence of hairs on the lower surface of the leaves is the distinguishable factor of red mulberry from white. The likelihood of hybridization between the two species makes them look similar.

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