The Moraceae—often called the mulberry family or fig family—are a family of flowering plants comprising about 38 genera and over 1100 species.[3] Most are widespread in tropical and subtropical regions, less so in temperate climates; however, their distribution is cosmopolitan overall. The only synapomorphy within the Moraceae is presence of laticifers and milky sap in all parenchymatous tissues, but generally useful field characters include two carpels sometimes with one reduced, compound inconspicuous flowers, and compound fruits.[4] The family includes well-known plants such as the fig, banyan, breadfruit, jackfruit, mulberry, and Osage orange. The 'flowers' of Moraceae are often pseudanthia (reduced inflorescences).

Temporal range: 80–0 Ma Cretaceous – Recent
Panama rubber tree (Castilla elastica)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Moraceae
Gaudich. (1835) nom. cons.[1][2]

48; see text

Ficus retusa (Moraceae) in Bagh-e-Jinnah, Lahore





The family varies from colossal trees like the Indian Banyan (Ficus benghalensis) which can cover five acres (two hectares) of ground, to Dorstenia barnimiana which is a small stemless, bulbous succulent 2–5 cm in diameter that produces a single peltate leaf on a 4–15 cm petiole. These two species have an approximately one billion fold difference in weight.[5][6]



The individual flowers are often small, with single whorled or absent perianth. Most flowers have either petals or sepals, but not both, known as monochlamydeae, and have pistils and stamens in different flowers, known as diclinous. Except for Brosimum gaudichaudii and Castilla elastica, the perianth in all species of the Moraceae contain sepals. If the flower has an inflexed stamen, then pollen is released and distributed by wind dispersal; however, if the stamen is straight, then insect pollination is most likely to occur. Insect pollination occurs in Antiaropsis, Artocarpus, Castilla, Dorstenia, Ficus, and Mesogyne.[7]



The leaves are much like the flowers when analyzing diversity. The leaves can be singly attached to the stem or alternating, they may be lobed or unlobed, and can be evergreen or deciduous depending on the species in question.[citation needed] The red mulberry can host numerous leaf types on the same tree. Leaves can be both lobed and unlobed and appear very different, but coexist on the same plant.[8]

Fruits and seeds


Plant species in the Moraceae are best known for their fruits. Overall, most species produced a fleshy fruit containing seeds. Examples include the breadfruit from Artocarpus altilis, the mulberry from Morus rubra, the fig from Ficus carica, and the jackfruit from Artocarpus heterophyllus.[9][10]



Formerly included within the now defunct order Urticales, recent molecular studies have resulted in the family's placement within the Rosales in a clade called the urticalean rosids that also includes Ulmaceae, Celtidaceae, Cannabaceae, and Urticaceae. Cecropia, which has variously been placed in the Moraceae, Urticaceae, or their own family, Cecropiaceae, is now included in the Urticaceae.[11]

Dioecy (having individuals with separate sexes) appears to be the primitive state in Moraceae.[9] Monoecy has evolved independently at least four times within the family.



Modern molecular phylogenetics suggest these relationships:[11][9][10][12]

Tribes and genera


Moraceae is comprised 48 genera[2] in seven tribes.[13][14]

Other genera accepted by Plants of the World Online as of April 2024:

Fossil genera and species


In addition to the living species, a number of fossil genera have been ascribed to the family:[15]



While the fossil record of Moraceae goes back to the late Cretaceous, molecular clock estimates suggest that the family had begun to diversify by the mid-Cretaceous, with some major clades emerging during the Tertiary period.[12]



Moraceae can be found throughout the world with a cosmopolitan distribution. The majority of species originate in the Old World tropics, particularly in Asia and the Pacific islands.[16]

See also



  1. ^ Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2009). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III" (PDF). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 161 (2): 105–121. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x. hdl:10654/18083. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
  2. ^ a b c Moraceae Gaudich. Plants of the World Online. Retrieved 22 April 2024.
  3. ^ Christenhusz, M. J. M.; Byng, J. W. (2016). "The number of known plants species in the world and its annual increase". Phytotaxa. 261 (3): 201–217. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.261.3.1.
  4. ^ Judd WS, Campbell CS, Kellogg EA, Stevens PF, Donoghue MJ (2008). Plant Systematics: A Phylogenetic Approach. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, Inc. pp. 1–620. ISBN 978-0-878-93407-2.
  5. ^ Andrews, F.W. D.Sc. (1952). The Flowering Plants of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan – Volume 2. Arbroath, Scotland: T. Buncle and Co. p. 260.
  6. ^ Thulin, M. et al. (2008). Flora of Somalia, Vol. 1–4
  7. ^ Leite VG, Mansano VF, Teixeira SP (2018). "Floral Development of Moraceae species with emphasis on the perianth and androecium". Flora. 240 (Flora): 116–132. doi:10.1016/j.flora.2018.01.009.
  8. ^ TWC Staff (2018). "Morus rubra (Red Mulberry)".
  9. ^ a b c Datwyler SL, Weiblen G (2004). "On the origin of the fig: Phylogenetic relationships of Moraceae from ndhF sequences". American Journal of Botany. 91 (5): 767–777. doi:10.3732/ajb.91.5.767. PMID 21653431.
  10. ^ a b Clement WL, Weiblen GD (2009). "Morphological evolution in the mulberry family (Moraceae)". Systematic Botany. 34 (3): 530–552. doi:10.1600/036364409789271155. S2CID 85680800.
  11. ^ a b Sytsma KJ, Morawetz J, Pires C, Nepokroeff M, Conti E, Zjhra M, Hall JC, Chase MW (2002). "Urticalean rosids: Circumscription, rosid ancestry, and phylogenetics based on rbcL, trnLF, and ndhF sequences" (PDF). American Journal of Botany. 89 (9): 1531–1546. doi:10.3732/ajb.89.9.1531. PMID 21665755.
  12. ^ a b Zerega NJ, Clement WL, Datwyler SL, Weiblen GD (2005). "Biogeography and divergence times in the mulberry family (Moraceae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 37 (2): 402–416. CiteSeerX doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.07.004. PMID 16112884.
  13. ^ Gardner, E.M., Garner, M., Cowan, R., Dodsworth, S., Epitawalage, N., Arifiani, D., Sahromi, Baker, W.J., Forest, F., Maurin, O., Zerega, N.J.C., Monro, A.K. and Hipp, A. (2021), Repeated parallel losses of inflexed stamens in Moraceae: Phylogenomics and generic revision of the tribe Moreae and the reinstatement of the tribe Olmedieae (Moraceae).Taxon, 70: 946-988.
  14. ^ Hepworth C (2018). "Moraceae – The Mulberry Family". Florida Fruit Geek.
  15. ^ "Moraceae". The International Fossil Plant Names Index. Retrieved 9 Feb 2023.
  16. ^ Zerega NJC, Clement WL, Datwyler SL, Weiblen GD (2005). "Biogeography and Divergence times in the mulberry family (Moraceae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 37 (2): 402–416. CiteSeerX doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.07.004. PMID 16112884.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)