|Morus subsp. var.||Mulberry|
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Morus (the ancient Latin name). Moraceae. Mulberry. Ornamental and fruit-bearing small trees. Unarmed, fls. dioecious or monoecious, both sexes in small hanging axillary catkins, the males soon falling (Figs. 2390, 2391); calyx 4-parted; stamens 4, the filaments partially inclosed in the calyx-lobes (Fig. 2392): pistillate fl. with one 2-celled ovary and 2 stigmas, and the 4 calyx-lobes adherent to the ovary (Fig. 2393) becoming fleshy and cohering into a long multiple fr. which suggests a blackberry in external appearance (Fig. 2394): real fr. an ovate compressed little achene, covered in the pulpy mass, 1 for every fertile fl. represented in the aggregate fr.—Temperate regions of the Old and New World. About 100 species of Morus have been described, but Bureau, DC. Prodr. 17:237 (1873) reduces them to 5; probably 10 or a dozen species represent the genus as now known. Two species are native in the U. S. Some of the names are now referred to other genera. Many of the names represent cultural forms of M. alba.
Mulberries are grown as food for silkworms and for the edible fruits. The silkworm mulberry of history is M. alba, and the fruit-bearing mulberry of history is M. nigra. Yet, strangely enough, the leading fruit- bearing varieties of North America, are derived from M. alba (see Bailey, Bulletin No. 21, Cornell Experiment Station, and "Evolution of Our Native Fruits"). The native M. rubra has also given varieties which are grown for their fruits. The silkworm mulberry of the Chinese is M, multicaulis, by some considered to be a form of M. alba. This was introduced into North America early in last century, and for a time there was the wildest speculation in the selling and planting of the mulberry tree, and in the rearing of silkworms. These efforts have now largely passed away in North America. M. multicaulis gave rise to one variety which was prized for its fruits, the Downing. This variety is now little known, but the name has been popularly but erroneously transferred to a good variety of M. alba (the New American).
In North America the mulberry is known chiefly as a fruit-bearing tree, although it is never planted extensively and the fruit is scarcely known in the market. Two or three trees about the home grounds are sufficient to supply a family. The fruits are sweet and soft. To many persons they are too sweet. Because of their sweetness they are of little value for culinary uses. They usually drop when ripe. They are harvested by being shaken on sheets or straw. Birds are exceedingly fond of them. In the East and North, varieties of M. alba are chiefly grown, as the New American (frequently cultivated as Downing), Thorburn and Trowbridge. On the Pacific coast and in some parts of the South, varieties of M. nigra are grown, particularly the Black Persian. In parts of the South forms of the native M. rubra are grown, as Hicks and Stubbs. These are popular for planting in hog pastures, as the animals like the fruits. The mulberry thrives in any garden soil. It does well even on thin gravels and rocky slopes. For fruit-bearing purposes, trees may be planted from 20 to 40 feet apart.
The Russian mulberries are offshoots of M. alba. Their particular merits are great hardiness to withstand cold, drought and neglect. They are useful for low windbreaks and also for sheared hedges. They have become popular on the Plains. They are readily propagated by seeds, and the resulting plants are variable. Now and then a large-fruited form appears and it may be named and propagated, but for the most part the Russian mulberry has little merit for its fruits unless one desires to feed the birds.
Varieties of mulberries are now readily worked on seedlings of the Russian. One of the most successful grafts is S. D. Willard's method, shown in Fig. 2395.
The grafting is performed in spring when the bark will slip, using cions which have been kept perfectly dormant or on ice; a is the cion, the lower part being cut thin so that it will enter readily between the bark and wood of the stock; b is the stock, with an incision made through the bark essentially as for shield-budding; c shows the graft bound with cord or raffia; d shows the completed operation, the work being covered with wax. Morns multicaulis grows from cuttings in the South. These cuttings, with the buds removed to prevent sprouting, are often grafted before they are planted with a long cion of the desired variety (see Fig. 1691). The cutting acts as a nurse, and the cion takes root of itself if set deep enough.
There are many mulberries with ornamental forms. Of these, the most popular in America at present is Teas' weeping, a chance seedling of the Russian mulberry tribe. When grafted several feet high on straight Russian stock, it makes one of the best of small weeping lawn trees (Fig. 2396). It originated on the grounds of John C. Teas, Carthage, Missouri, about 1883. Various cut-leaved forms, mostly of M. alba, are seen in fine collections, of which the form known as M. venosa (Fig. 2397) is one of the best. The foliage of mulberries is interesting because so variable. Even on the same tree there may be leaves of several forms, while different trees of the same species may show strong individual traits. The most striking variations are in the lobing of the leaves.
Morus or Mulberry is a genus of 10–16 species of deciduous trees native to warm temperate and subtropical regions of Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas, with the majority of the species native to Asia.
Mulberries are fast-growing when young, but soon become slow-growing and rarely exceed 10-15 metres (33-49 ft) tall. The leaves are alternately arranged, simple, often lobed, more often lobed on juvenile shoots than on mature trees, and serrated on the margin.
The fruit is a multiple fruit, 2-3 centimetres (0.8-1.2 in) long. The fruits when immature are white or green to pale yellow with pink edges. In most species the fruits are red when they are ripening. A fully ripened mulberry in these species is dark purple to black, edible, and sweet with a good flavor in several species. The fruits of the white-fruited cultivar of the White Mulberry on the other hand are green when unripe and white when ripe; the fruit in this cultivar is sweet, and has a very mild flavor compared with the dark fruits.
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Pests and diseases
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Morus taxonomy is complicated and under dispute. Just 10–16 species of the many named are generally accepted, though there are different groups accepting different names. Large amounts of hybridization has also complicate their classification, with generally fertile hybrids.
These species are generally accepted:
This list of Morus are all from E and SE Asia. They are additionally accepted by at least one taxonomic list/study; synonymy as given by other lists/studies is shown in parentheses: