Morus nigra (Black Mulberry, Indian/Persian Mulberry)
And coincidentally, our very dear friend, Stella Cheong surprised us with a wonderful Chinese New Year gift of a young rooted cutting of Mulberry, laden with fruits on February 21st, 2014.
Such an awesome present that delighted us so as it had been one of our long-awaited desirous plants.
A pity though that our garden is too small to provide space for a Mulberry tree.
Hence, the plant has to be pruned frequently to restrict its height and maintain it as a 2-meter-tall shrub. And, the more often it is given a haircut, the more it rewards us with bountiful fruits. Great huh!
Plant Profile, Culture and Propagation :
- Botanical Name: Morus nigra (syn.: Morus scabra, Morus laciniata, Morus japonica).
Black Mulberry, Blackberry, Black-fruited Mulberry, Indian/Persian Mulberry, Silkworm Mulberry, Hei Sang in Chinese.
- Family name: Moraceae
- Etymology: The genus name is derived from the Latin word, morus, meaning mulberry tree. The specific epithet, nigra refers to nigger or various dark brown and black hues of objects, probably implying to the colour of the blackish mulberry fruits.
- Origin: Native to temperate southwestern Asia from Afghanistan, Iran to Kazakhstan and tropical Asia from India to Pakistan, and Europe. Also, widely cultivated elsewhere.
- Plant type: An evergreen fruiting perennial tree or shrub.
Morus nigra is a species of the genus Morus that comprises of about 10-16 species of flowering plants and are popularly grown for its edible mulberry fruits.
It is an evergreen perennial tree in the tropics but deciduous in cold regions, growing between 10-12 m tall and spreads as wide. Pruning regularly will keep it shrubby and limit its height to below 2.5 m.
A fast-growing plant with medium to dark green foliage. The broadly ovate or heart-shaped leaves are up to 12 cm long or more. The upper surface of the blades is rough with very short and stiff hairs while the underside is downy.
The leaves have coarsely serrated edges. The younger leaves at the apex are usually lobed.
It produces edible fruits that are greenish and pinkish with inconspicuous flowers (catkins) when unripe.
The fruits turn dark purplish-red and almost black when mature or ripen.
Fruits are elliptically shaped, 2-2.5 x 1.5-2.5 cm. Best to harvest the mulberries when black-coloured for a sweeter flavour as the red ones are sour-sweet in taste.
Culture (Care): Morus nigra can be easily grown with minimum care.
Light: Full sun for best growth and fruiting.
Moderate water needs. Keep soil constantly moist but never water-logged.
Soil:Humus-enriched and loamy soils, plus well-drained.
Others: Remove withered, yellow or scorched leaves to promote tidiness. Prune frequently to keep it bushy and encourage prolific fruiting. Feed once a month with a balanced fertilizer for fruiting plants.
Generally free from serious pests and diseases. However, do watch out for insects like the grasshoppers that bring along their clan and can gorge the leaves in a jiffy.
For subtropical and temperate regions: Hardiness: USDA Zone 6b onward. Morus nigra is a small deciduous tree or shrub in temperate climate.
Protect from cold and dry winds. Best to propagate by stem cuttings in mid-summer and prune in late autumn or early winter.
Usage: Black Mulberry or Morus nigra are popularly grown for their edible fruits, eaten fresh as they are or made in jams, jellies, muffins, cakes, ice-cream, sherbets. etc.
They are ideal for container gardening or raised planters.
Excellent to be grown on the ground in garden border and beds to benefit from the nutrient-enriched mulberry fruits.
Morus nigra is well-known for its folklore medicine in many countries.
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Last edit: June 15, 2016