Scientific Classification:

Kingdom Plantae
Phylum Magnoliophyta
Class Magnoliopsida
Order Rosales
Family Moraceae
Genus Morus
Species M.nigra
Binomial name Morus nigra

Other Common Names:

The other common names for the mulberry tree are common mulberry and black mulberry.


Mulberry is a very ancient and famous tree for both its fruit and leaves are of great use for livestocks and especially to feed silkworms which were used in silk trades.

The generic name of mulberry comes from Morus which has been derived from the Latin word mora (delay).Initially there was a great demand for the mulberry cultivars for only recently new hybrid cultivars have been developed.So these trees are considered to be a very important fruit tree in gardens of the Orient, Europe and the Mideast for they were rare and expensive.


The leaves of the mulberry tree are large,alternate, deciduous,toothed and often variously lobed.The flowers of the mulberry are not really very attractive and are small and cylindrical in shape.

They are unisexual and are seen in separate spikes, or catkins. The fruits of the mulberry are always seen in cluster which are oblong with small stalks when young.As the fruits mature the cluster of fruits get an intense purple colour and each fruit consists of a seed,enclosed by four sepals.The fruits of the black mulberry are large and juicy with a mixture of both sweet and tart taste like that of grapes.The period taken for the mulberry to ripe is considerably long than that of other fruits.


The black mulberry is native to western Asia and has been grown for its fruits in Europe since before Roman times. The tree grows wild in northern Asia Minor, Armenia and the Southern Caucasus region as far as Persia and is now cultivated throughout Europe.


The mulberry tree thrives best in a warm moist but well-drained loamy soil in a sheltered sunny position. Shallow soils such as those frequently found on chalk or gravel are not recommended. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.


Trees are fairly adaptable, but grow well in deep, moist soils.Mildly drought tolerant, but water should be provided during long dry spells. They are usually propagated by seed, which can take several years to bear.The seed germinates best if given 2 - 3 months cold stratification.Sowing of the seeds are usually done in February in a cold frame or as soon as the seed is ripe.The duration of the mulberry seeds to germinate is nearly close to 12 months.Once they become easy to handle the seedlings are pricked into individual pots and grown in cold frame.Once summer falls they are planted out.Sprig budding is the most common method for grafting mulberries. A T-cut is made in the rootstock and a smooth, sloping cut is made on the lower end of the scion. The scion is then inserted into the T and wrapped and sealed.Hardwood, softwood and root cuttings also are suitable methods for propagating mulberries.

Flowering Season

The flowers are held on short, green, pendulous, nondescript catkins that appear in the axils of the current season's growth and on spur on older wood and they are mostly in bloom from May through June.

Pests and Diseases

Mulberries are generally free of pests and diseases, although cankers and dieback can occur. In some areas "popcorn disease" is an occasional problem, in which fruits swell to resemble popped corn. M. Alba/M. rubra hybrids are particularly prone to this condition. The disease carries on from one season to the next, so collecting and burning infected fruits help control it. The ripe fruit is very attractive to birds, but there is usually enough fruit left over for harvesting.

Parts Used


Berries, leaves, twigs and the root bark are the most commonly used parts of the mulberry tree for its commercial and medicinal purposes.

Medicinal Applications


• Mulberries are refreshing and have laxative properties.

• The leaves bound into place controls bleeding at the mouth or nose, or the bleeding of the piles.

• The bark of M. nigra is reputed anthelmintic, and is used to expel tape worm.

• It is used in the treatment of urinary incontinence, tinnitus, premature greying of the hair and constipation in the elderly.

• The fruit of the Mulberry tree is used in treating affections of the mouth and throat.

• It is employed in the treatment of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

• Mulberry tree is also used in the treatment of high blood pressure and diabetes.

• They are taken internally in the treatment of colds, influenza, eye infections and nosebleeds.

Commercial Applications


• The wood of the mulberry tree is a useful building material and is used to make farm tools.

• High grade paper and artificial fibre can also be made from the bark.

• The mulberry is excellent for fresh eating and for cooking pies.

• Different colours of the dye are obtained from the fruits and leaves of the mulberry.

• Syrupy sweet mulberries are used in Ice Cream, jams, jellies, beverages, pies, and as stuffing mixtures for game birds.

• They can also be made into wine and make an excellent dried fruit, especially the black varieties.

• The mulberry is excellent for fresh eating and for cooking pies.


The astro reports for the mulberry tree say that it is strongly influenced by the Mercury planet.

Quotes from history

William Bartram, the famous early American explorer and botanist,in the year 1773 published a book named "Travel" has made quotes about mulberry.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 Monticello, Virginia. The Jerusalem Mulberry (Morus nigra 'Jerusalem') produces large, attractive black mulberries.

Cultural and Religious Significance

IIt is mentioned by most of the early Greek and Roman writers. The Romans ate Mulberries at their feasts, as we know from the Satires of Horace, who (Sat. ii,) recommends that Mulberries be gathered before sunset. We also find mention of the Mulberry in Ovid, who in the Metamorphoses refers to the legend of Pyramus and Thisbe, who were slain beneath its shade, the fruit being fabled to have thereby changed from white to deep red through absorbing their blood. By Virgil, the tree is termed sanguinea morus.

Folklores and Myths

Passing a young child through the branches of this tree has traditionally thought to encourage good health and a long life for the child. A rather sad Swiss story is told about a number of dwarfs who used to sit on the branch of a Maple tree watching the haymaking. One night those with nothing better to do decide to cut through the branch making it dangerous to sit upon. When the dwarves next came to sit on the branch they fell to the floor. In order to avoid the eggs of the stork being disturbed by a bat or even being killed whilst still in their shells, according to Alsatian folklore; placing branches of the Maple would ensure protection against the bat. In fact planting a branch of the Maple tree in a house was said to ensure that bats will not dare to enter.