The common name mulberry is applied to certain Morus species (M. alba, M. rubra, etc.), but it can also be used for other closely-related plants that are also known as 'mulberries,' which are classified in the genus Maclura or Morotrophis . The origin of the word "mulberry" can be traced back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon word "mulberry," which itself derives from the Latin mūlus ("mulberry") and the Old English morgen ("mor").
Morus ("mulberry tree") is a genus of flowering plants containing at least 30 species of trees, mostly native to warm temperate and tropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Mulberries are small to medium-sized shrubs or trees with a thick tan-gray ridged trunk and light green leaves which vary in shape depending on the variety. Leaves are arranged alternately and are lobed or unlobed, cordate (heart-shaped), dentate (toothed), and acuminate (tapering).
Mulberries can be eaten fresh or dried and used in jams, jellies, and preserves. The raw fruit is a known laxative for children if more than a few are ingested, and can cause an upset stomach if more than a few are ingested by adults due to their laxative effect. Mulberries are rich in anthocyanins (about 2-3% of the dry weight), which impart the deep purple color to fruits, e.g., blackberries.
Mulberry fruit is an important food source for both fauna and flora. The leaves provide fodder for many animals, including Lepidoptera (butterfly larvae), which are the main pest of mulberry plantations. On a single tree, about 80 or 100 pounds of leaves can fall in a day and each leaf is eaten by 1-2 caterpillars daily. Mulberry fruit is also eaten by birds such as cuckoos, waxwings, and thrushes. These fruits are called "strawberries" - a term that is often used for any juicy and fleshy red fruit (like tomatoes for example). They are particularly appreciated by yaks and mules whose diet consists of coarse grass.
The medicinal uses of mulberries are many. They have been traditionally used to treat diseases like diarrhea, constipation, rheumatism, arthritis, high blood pressure, cancer, fever, pneumonia, and ulcers. The bark of the root is used as a diuretic. Mulberries have also been used to treat disorders of the heart. They are thought to be good for eyesight. Mulberries contain important nutrients like calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, and fiber.
Global mulberry production
Mulberry is a fruit that grows on trees in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. The scientific name for the mulberry tree is Morus alba. Mulberries are small, dark-colored berries that have a sweet, tart taste. They are often used in pies, jams, and other desserts.
Mulberries are a good source of vitamins C and K, as well as other minerals. They also contain a substance called resveratrol, which has been linked to several health benefits. The mulberry tree is native to China, but it is now grown in many other parts of the world, including the United States, Europe, and Africa.
In China, the mulberry tree has been grown for centuries for both its fruit and its leaves. The leaves are used to feed silkworms, which produce silk thread. The mulberry tree is also known for its wood, which is strong and durable. Mulberry wood is often used to make furniture and other wood products. Mulberries are typically harvested from late summer to early fall. In the United States, they are often found in farmers' markets and grocery stores.
Global production of mulberries in 2017 was estimated at 1.7 million tonnes, led by Turkey with 32% of the world's total (table). Other major producers were Iran, Italy and India (FAO 2018). Mulberries are traditionally harvested by hand, and the fruit is often used in jams, pies, and wines. The fruit of the white mulberry is also used to feed silkworms.