Morus alba, commonly known as the White Mulberry or silkworm mulberry, is a tree that can reach a height of 18m and a width of 10m. In Australia, the White Mulberry flowers in November, with its seeds ripening from January to February, the same as other mulberry tree varieties in Australia.
The plant's flowers are monoecious, meaning both male and female flowers are present on the same plant, and they rely on wind for pollination.
Soil Preferences for Morus alba (White Mulberry)
The silkworm mulberry thrives in various soil types:
- Light (sandy)
- Medium (loamy)
- Hard (clay)
It's crucial for the soil to offer good drainage. The White Mulberry prefers:
- Acidic soils with a pH of less than 6
- Neutral soils with a pH between 6 and 8
- Basic soils with a pH greater than 8
Moreover, this tree has a preference for moist soils.
Ideal Planting Locations for Morus alba (Silkworm Mulberry)
The White Mulberry can flourish in semi-shaded areas or even in locations with no shade. While its wild occurrence is not well-documented, the tree is well-suited for:
- Woodland gardens
- As a secondary tree
- Sunny edges
- Dappled shade areas
Cultivars of Morus alba (White Mulberry)
- 'Beautiful Day': Medium to large pure white fruit, sweet flesh, medium-sized, spreading tree.
- 'Downing': Medium-sized pink fruit with a sweet flavour, wide-spreading, hardy tree.
- 'Fegyvernekiana': Dwarf form reaching only shrub size.
- 'Hunza Seedless': Medium-sized, pure white, seedless fruits.
- 'Nana': Dwarf form reaching only shrub size.
- 'New American': Developed in North America for northern latitudes.
- 'Pendulum': Heavy crop of tasty fruits.
- 'Russian': Reddish-black fruit, hardy and drought-resistant tree.
- 'Thorburn': Developed in North America for northern latitudes.
- 'Trowbridge': Developed in North America for northern latitudes.
- 'Tehama': Large plump fruit, attractive, large-leaved tree.
Edible Uses of Morus alba (White Mulberry)
- Fruit: Consumed raw and has a sweet yet often insipid taste. When dried, the fruit develops a richer flavor and can be used as a raisin substitute.
- Young Leaves and Shoots: Can be cooked and consumed.
- Inner Bark: When roasted and ground, it can be used as a thickener in soups or mixed with cereals for bread-making.
- Manna: The tree is also a source of an edible manna.
- Young Shoots: Can be used as a tea substitute.
Medicinal Uses of Morus alba (Silkworm Mulberry)
Medicinal Rating: 3/5
- Leaves: Have antibacterial, astringent, diaphoretic, hypoglycaemic, odontalgic, and ophthalmic properties. They can be used to treat colds, influenza, eye infections, and nosebleeds.
- Stems: Can be used to treat rheumatic pains, spasms, high blood pressure, and respiratory issues.
- Root Bark: Has antiasthmatic, antitussive, diuretic, expectorant, hypotensive, and sedative properties and can be used to treat asthma, coughs, bronchitis, edema, hypertension, and diabetes.
Harvesting and Fruit Growth in Australia
White Mulberry fruits start to develop and typically ripen from January to February. The fruit transitions from a green shade to a pale white or slightly pinkish hue when ripe. Regularly check the tree during the ripening period, as ripe mulberries can quickly become overripe.
Pruning Morus alba (White Mulberry)
Pruning is essential to maintain the health and shape of the White Mulberry tree. In Australia, the best time to prune is during the winter months when the tree is dormant. Regular pruning also encourages better fruit production.
Pests and Diseases Affecting Morus alba (White Mulberry)
ReferencesTrees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
- Bean. W.
- Author: Bean. W.
- Publisher : A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
- Date of Publication: 1981
- Huxley. A.
- Author: Huxley. A.
- Publisher: Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
- Date of Publication: 1992
Wrapping Up Growing White Mulberry Trees in Australia
The Morus alba, or White Mulberry, is a versatile and valuable tree, especially in Australia. With its various cultivars and adaptability to different soil types, it offers both aesthetic and functional benefits to gardens and landscapes. Whether you're interested in its delicious fruit, its medicinal properties, or its ornamental value, the White Mulberry is a worthy addition to any garden.