Morus alba (mora)
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Morus alba L.
Preferred Common Name
Other Scientific Names
- Morus alba f. tatarica Ser.
- Morus alba var. constantinopolitana Loudon
- Morus alba var. multicaulis (Perr.) Loudon
- Morus atropurpurea Roxb.
- Morus indica L.
- Morus multicaulis Perr.
International Common Names
- English: mulberry; white mulberry; white mulberry tree
- Spanish: morera
- French: murier; Murier blanc; mûrier blanc
- Arabic: tuth
Local Common Names
- Brazil: amora-branca; amoreira-branca; amoreira-preta
- Germany: Weisser Maulbeerbaum
- India: ambat; chinni; hipnerle; kamblichedi; musukette; pippalipandu chettu; reshme chattu; reshms chattu; shahtut; shehtun; shetur; siah tut; tula; tut; tuticoli; tuto; tutri
- Italy: Gelso bianco; moral blanco; morera blanco
- Netherlands: moerbei, witte
- Pakistan: chinni; shahtut; tut; tutri
- MORAL (Morus alba)
- white mulberry
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
M. alba is a multipurpose tree widely planted in tropical, subtropical and mild temperate regions of the world for fodder and silkworm rearing, and for fruit and timber production (Gupta, 1993). Introduced M. alba has been found to be associated with invasion events in Oregon and Virgina (USA) and South Africa (Haysom and Murphy, 2003). It is also recorded as invasive in Brazil (Instituto Horus, 2011).
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Urticales
- Family: Moraceae
- Genus: Morus
- Species: Morus alba
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
The genus Morus (family Moraceae) contains about 10 species (Parker, 1956). Many cultivars have been developed over the long period of time that Morus spp. have been cultivated for leaf and fruit production (Gerasopoulos and Stavroulakis, 1997). For example, there are about 700 cultivars in Japan that are used for rearing silkworms. There has been confusion regarding the characteristics of M. alba at various times (Watt, 1972).
DescriptionTop of page
A small to medium tree growing up to 15 m, M. alba has a short trunk, and a rounded crown with a dense canopy of spreading branches. Leaves are alternate, simple, 6-18 cm long, 5-13 cm wide, broadly ovate, dentate or lobed with 3 prominent veins running from the rounded or obliquely cordate base. Somewhat polymorphic, leaves are shiny green on the adaxial surface, paler and slightly hairy underneath. Bark is light brown to grey, smooth but may be furrowed. Dioecious, male inflorescences are small with 4 stamens, filaments inflexed in bud, green and borne on long catkins. Female flowers are inconspicuous, perianth with 4 free or almost free segments, aggregated in short spikes. Fruit is an ovoid or cylindrical syncarp composed of achenes, pendunculate, red when immature, blackish-purple, purple or greenish-white when mature, 1-2.5 cm long (Global Invasive Species Database, 2016; Tutin, 1964).
Two botanical varieties of M. alba are recognized (Zhou and Gilbert 2003): varieties ‘alba’ and ‘multicaulis’. The leaf blade of ‘alba’ is 5-15 cm, fruits are ovoid to ellipsoid, blackish purple when mature. The leaf blade of var. ‘multicaulis’ is <30 cm with cylindric fruits which are greenish-white to purple when mature.
DistributionTop of page
M. alba is native to central and eastern China, and is widely cultivated and naturalized elsewhere across the world, largely due to sericulture. In some areas M. alba is invasive, hybridizing with native species M. rubra in North America and outcompeting other native species in South Africa.
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Planted||Reference||Notes|
|India||Unconfirmed record||Planted, Natural||CAB Abstracts|
|-Jammu and Kashmir||Unconfirmed record||CAB Abstracts|
|Japan||Unconfirmed record||Planted, Natural|
|Korea, DPR||Present||Planted, Natural|
|Korea, Republic of||Present||Planted, Natural|
|South Africa||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Planted||Haysom and Murphy, 2003|
|Tanzania||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|USA||Unconfirmed record||Planted, Natural|
|-Oregon||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Haysom and Murphy, 2003|
|-Virginia||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Haysom and Murphy, 2003|
|Brazil||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Planted, Natural||Instituto Horus, 2011|
|Former USSR||Unconfirmed record|
|Russian Federation||Present||Planted, Natural|
|Yugoslavia (former)||Present||Planted, Natural|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
M. alba is a rapidly growing deciduous woody perennial with a deep root system. Mulberry trees are either dioecious or monoecious, and a tree sometimes will change from one sex to another. High temperatures, strong light and long days favour maleness in mulberries, with their opposites, as well as high humidity, favouring the production of female flowers. Flowers appear as cylindrical catkins along with the leaves axillary on the current season’s shoots and on spurs on older wood. Pollination is not usually a problem because mulberries are wind pollinated, and some plants will set fruit without any pollination whatsoever. In China, M. alba flowers in April to May with fruiting during May to August.
White mulberry is grown in cool temperate steppe to warm to tropical, very dry to moist, forest life zones and can be grown in annual temperatures ranging from 6-28°C (Duke, 1983). It is the most cold hardy of the mulberry species grown for their fruit, though cold hardiness varies from clone to clone. The clone ‘Tartarica’ is tolerant of temperatures down to -32°C. M. alba prefers moist, well drained loamy soils in a sunny position. However, it will grow in coarse, medium and fine soils, has some shade tolerance and is moderately tolerant of drought. Once established, it is tolerant of drought (Duke, 1983) and of saline conditions (Global Invasive Species Database, 2016). It is liable to wind damage, but in India it is cultivated up to 3300 m in altitude (Duke, 1983).
Latitude/Altitude RangesTop of page
|Latitude North (°N)||Latitude South (°S)||Altitude Lower (m)||Altitude Upper (m)|
Air TemperatureTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Absolute minimum temperature (ºC)||-28|
|Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC)||21||37|
|Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC)||9||19|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Dry season duration||2||4||number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall|
|Mean annual rainfall||1200||2000||mm; lower/upper limits|
Soil TolerancesTop of page
UsesTop of page
Worldwide M. alba is mainly cultivated for sericulture. China has over 400,000 ha planted for their leaves as silkworm fodder. Leaves are also used as fodder for ruminant animals and have even been eaten as a vegetable by humans. The bark can be used for paper. Ripe fruits are eaten fresh, used in desserts and cooking in pies and tarts, and also for cordials and jams. In Asia, southern Europe and southern parts of the USA, M. alba has been used for windbreaks, in landscaping, and their low water requirements and resistance to pruning makes them suitable for use as a street tree. In India the wood is used for cabinet work and sporting goods (Sánchez, 2002).
Uses ListTop of page
Animal feed, fodder, forage
- Fodder/animal feed
- Invertebrate food for silkworms
- Boundary, barrier or support
- Erosion control or dune stabilization
- Shade and shelter
Human food and beverage
- Honey/honey flora
- Carved material
- Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
Wood ProductsTop of page
- Short-fibre pulp
Sawn or hewn building timbers
- Carpentry/joinery (exterior/interior)
- For light construction
- Industrial and domestic woodware
- Musical instruments
- Sports equipment
- Tool handles
ReferencesTop of page
Ahmad I, Park KE, 1989. Mulberry Cultivation Techniques. Peshawar, Pakistan: Pakistan Forest Institute.
Berdyklycev K, 1968. The importance of woody species for drainage in the conditions of N. Turkmenia. [Meliorativnoe znacenie drevesnyh porod v uslovijah SevernojTurkmenii.] Izdatel'stvo 'Ylym', Ashkhabad. pp. 100. [158 refs.].
Bokhari AS, 1973. Revised working plan of Changa Manga plantation (Kasur Forest Division). Lahore, India: Government Printing.
California Rare Fruit Growers, 2016. Mulberry, Morus spp., Moraceae https://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/mulberry.html
Champion HG, Seth SK, Khattak GM, 1965. Forest Types of Pakistan. Peshawar, Pakistan: Pakistan Forest Institute.
Coventry BO, 1925. Devastation of Changa Manga plantation by fungus attack. Indian Forester, 51(10):517-523.
Duke, J. A., 1983. Handbook of energy crops, West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University, Center for New Crops & Plants Products https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/Morus_alba.html
Gerasopoulos D, Stavroulakis G, 1997. Quality characteristics of four mulberry (Morus sp) cultivars in the area of Chania, Greece. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 73(2):261-264.
Haysom K, Murphy S, 2003. The status of invasiveness of forest tree species outside their natural habitat: a global review and discussion paper. Rome, Italy: FAO. http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/006/J1583E/J1583E00.htm
Huang YuLan, Lan LiuYan, Hu ShengHu, Zhang ChaoLan, Feng JianLing, Tang Jian, Li XiaoFeng, 2015. Impact of organic fertilizers and iron-fertilizers on Morus alba L. chlorosis in paddy soils., Acta Agriculturae Zhejiangensis, 27(11):1984-1989 http://www.zjnyxb.cn/EN/abstract/abstract2543.shtml
Invasive Species Specialist Group, 2016. Global Invasive Species Database http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/
Lochynska, M., Oleszak, G., 2011. Multi-use of the white mulberry (Morus alba L.)., Ecological Questions, 15:91-95 http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/ecoq.2011.15.issue-1/v10090-011-0040-5/v10090-011-0040-5.xml?format=INT
Naowaratwattana, W., De-Eknamkul, W., Mejia, E. G. de, 2010. Phenolic-containing organic extracts of mulberry (Morus alba L.) leaves inhibit HepG2 hepatoma cells through G2/M phase arrest, induction of apoptosis, and inhibition of topoisomerase IIa activity., Journal of Medicinal Food, 13(5):1045-1056 http://www.liebertonline.com/jmf
Narayanaswamy KC, Geethabai M, Raghuraman R, 1996. Mite pests of mulberry - a review. Indian Journal of Sericulture, 35(1):1-8.
Oku, T., Yamada, M., Nakamura, M., Sadamori, N., Nakamura, S., 2006. Inhibitory effects of extractives from leaves of Morus alba on human and rat small intestinal disaccharidase activity., British Journal of Nutrition, 95(5):933-938
Oz, A. T., Ulukanli, Z., 2014. The effects of calcium chloride and 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) on the shelf life of mulberries (Morus alba L.)., Journal of Food Processing and Preservation, 38(3):1279-1288 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1745-4549
Park KwangJun, Park KJ, 1995. Characteristics of several tetraploid induced by colchicine treatment in mulberry seedlings (Morus alba L. selfing Ist generation of Kaeryangppong). RDA Journal of Agricultural Science, Farm Management, Agricultural Engineering, Sericulture, and Farm Products Utilization, 37(2):759-765; 25 ref.
Parker RN, 1956. A forest flora for the Punjab with Hazara and Delhi. Lahore, Pakistan: Government Printing Press.
Porto, A. J., Costa, C., 2011. Postharvest storage systems for mulberry branches (Morus spp.), Veterinária e Zootecnia , 18(1):135-146
Ramanjulu S, Sudhakar C, 1997. Drought tolerance is partly related to amino acid cumulation and ammonia assimilation: a comparative study in two mulberry genotypes differing in drought sensitivity. Journal of Plant Physiology, 150(3):345-35.
Royal Horticultural Society, 2016. Morus alba 'Pendula', weeping white mulberry https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/46790/Morus-alba-Pendula/Details
Sheikh MI, 1993. Trees of Pakistan. GOP-USAID Forestry Planning and Development Project. Islamabad, Pakistan: Pictorial Printers (Pvt.) Ltd.
Shen Yan, Wang DongLan, Liu XianJin, Wu ChangFu, Sun Xing, Ma YaoYao, 2012. Residue characteristics of propargite in mulberry (Morus alba L.) and soil., Journal of Nanjing Forestry University (Natural Sciences Edition), 36(4):93-97 http://njlydxxb.periodicals.net.cn/default.html
Siddiqui KM, 1993. Irrigated Forestry in Pakistan. (A state-of-art-review). Peshawar, Pakistan: Pakistan Forest Institute.
Siddiqui KM, Ayaz M, Mahmood I, 1996. Properties and uses of Pakistan timbers. Peshawar, Pakistan: Forest Products Research Division, Pakistan Forest Institute.
Singab, A. N. B., El-Beshbishy, H. A., Yonekawa, M., Nomura, T., Fukai, T., 2005. Hypoglycemic effect of Egyptian Morus alba root bark extract: effect on diabetes and lipid peroxidation of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats., Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 100(3):333-338
Sosef MSM, Hong LT, Prawirohatmodjo S, eds, 1998. Plant resources of southeast Asia. Timber trees: lesser-known timbers. Leiden, The Netherlands: Backhuys Publishers, 5(3).
Tutin, T. G., 1964. Morus L. In: Tutin TG, Heywood VH, Burges NA, Valentine DH, Walters SM, Webb DA, eds. Flora Europea volume 1, Lycopodiaceae to Plantanaceae
Zhou, Z. K., Gilbert, M. G., 2003. Moraceae In: Wu ZY, Raven PH, Hong DY, eds. Flora of China. Volume 5 (Ulmaceae through Basellaceae:21-73 http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/mss/volume05/Moraceae.pdf
Distribution MapsTop of page
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