Morus nigra, called black mulberry  or blackberry (not to be confused with the blackberries that are various species of Rubus), is a species of flowering plant in the family Moraceae that is native to southwestern Asia and the Iberian Peninsula, where it has been cultivated for so long that its precise natural range is unknown. The black mulberry is known for its large number of chromosomes, 308 (44x ploidy).
|Plate from book: Flora of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (1885)|
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||180 kJ (43 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||1.7 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.|
|Vitamin A||25 IU|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. |
Source: USDA FoodData Central
Sometimes other mulberry species are confused with black mulberry, particularly black-fruited individuals of the white mulberry. Black mulberry may be distinguished from the other species by the uniformly hairy lower surface of its leaves. Mulberry fruit color derives from anthocyanins.
Morus nigra is a deciduous tree growing to 12 m (39 ft) tall by 15 m (49 ft) broad. The leaves are 10–20 cm (4–8 in) long by 6–10 cm (2–4 in) broad - up to 23 cm (9 in) long on vigorous shoots, downy on the underside, the upper surface rough with very short, stiff hairs. It has 308 chromosomes.
The edible fruit is a compound cluster of several small drupes that are dark purple, almost black when ripe, and they are 2–3 centimetres (0.8–1.2 in) long. Black mulberry is richly flavoured, similar to the red mulberry (Morus rubra) rather than the more insipid fruit of the white mulberry (Morus alba).
Cultivation and usesEdit
Black mulberries (Morus nigra) are thought to have originated in the mountainous areas of Mesopotamia and Persia. Black mulberry is planted, and often naturalised, west across much of Europe, including Ukraine, and east into China. Now they are widespread throughout Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, India, Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, and Turkey.
The tree has long been cultivated for its edible fruit. Both the tree and the fruit are known by the Persian-derived names toot (mulberry) or shahtoot (شاه توت) (king's or "superior" mulberry), or, in Arabic, as shajarat tukki. Often, jams and sherbets are made from the fruit in this region.
The black mulberry was imported into Britain in the seventeenth century in the hope that it would be useful in the cultivation of silkworms (Bombyx mori). It was unsuccessful in that enterprise because silkworms prefer the white mulberry. However, the plantings have left a legacy of large and old trees in many country house gardens and it was listed in the Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society until 2013. It was much used in folk medicine, especially in the treatment of ringworm.
Unripe shahtoot (Iran)
- "Morus nigra". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 21 December 2017.
- "Definition And Classification Of Commodities (Draft) 8. Fruits And Derived Products". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
- RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 978-1405332965.
- Zeng, Q; Chen, H (2015). "Definition of Eight Mulberry Species in the Genus Morus by Internal Transcribed Spacer-Based Phylogeny". PLOS ONE. 10 (8): e0135411. Bibcode:2015PLoSO..1035411Z. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0135411. PMC 4534381. PMID 26266951.
- Nelson, G.; Earle, C.J.; Spellenberg, R.; More, D.; Hughes, A.K. (2014). Trees of Eastern North America. Princeton University Press. p. 408. ISBN 9781400852994.
- James A. Duke (1983). "Morus alba L., Moraceae: White mulberry, Russian mulberry, Silkworm mulberry, Moral blanco". Handbook of Energy Crops. Archived from the original on 2012-10-28. Retrieved 8 March 2020.
- Kristbergsson, K.; Ötles, S. (2016). Functional Properties of Traditional Foods. Springer. p. 211. ISBN 9781489976628.
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