Dried mulberries are not as colorful as fresh mulberries, but are easy to carry. Because fresh berries are too soft and juicy to transport over longer distances. Before drying, mulberries are available in three basic color variations, white,red, and black. It is said that both the black mulberry native to South West Africa (Morus nigra), as well as the red mulberry native to eastern parts of North Africa have a much stronger flavor than the white mulberry.
The fruit of the white mulberry – an East Asian species extensively naturalized in urban regions of eastern North America – has a different flavor, sometimes characterized as refreshing and a little tart, with a bit of gumminess to it and a hint of vanilla. In North America, the white mulberry is considered an invasive exotic and has taken over extensive tracts from native plant species, including the red mulberry.
The ripe fruit is edible and is widely used in pies, tarts, wines, cordials, and herbal teas. The fruit of the black mulberry (native to southwest Asia) and the red mulberry (native to eastern North America) have the strongest flavor, which has been likened to 'fireworks in the mouth'.
The fruit and leaves are sold in various forms as nutritional supplements. The mature plant contains significant amounts of resveratrol, particularly in stem bark. Unripe fruit and green parts of the plant have a white sap that may be toxic, stimulating, or mildly hallucinogenic.
In a 100 g (3.5-oz) serving, raw mulberries provide 180 kJ (43 kcal), 44% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin C, and 14% of the DV for iron. Other nutrients are in insignificant quantity.1
Mulberry fruit color derives from anthocyanins, which are under basic research for mechanisms of various diseases. Anthocyanins are responsible for the attractive colors of fresh plant foods, including orange, red, purple, black, and blue. These colors are water-soluble and easily extractable, yielding natural food colorants. Due to a growing demand for natural food colorants, their significance in the food industry is increasing. Anthocyanin content depends on climate and area of cultivation, and is particularly high in sunny climates.
From Wikipedia: Morus, a genus of flowering plants in the family Moraceae, comprises 10–16 species of deciduous trees commonly known as mulberries, growing wild and under cultivation in many temperate world regions.
The closely related genus Broussonetia is also commonly known as mulberry, notably the paper mulberry, Broussonetia papyrifera. Mulberries are fast-growing when young, but soon become slow-growing and rarely exceed 10–15 metres (30–50 ft) tall. The leaves are alternately arranged, simple and often lobed and serrated on the margin. Lobes are more common on juvenile shoots than on mature trees.
The trees can be monoecious or dioecious. The mulberry fruit is a multiple fruit, approximately 2–3 cm (3⁄4–1 1⁄4 in) long. Immature fruits are white, green, or pale yellow. In most species the fruits turn pink and then red while ripening, then dark purple or black, and have a sweet flavor when fully ripe. The fruits of the white-fruited cultivar are white when ripe; the fruit of this cultivar is also sweet, but has a very bland flavor compared with darker varieties.1
Mulberry leaves, particularly those of the white mulberry, are ecologically important as the sole food source of the silkworm (Bombyx mori, named after the mulberry genus Morus), the cocoon of which is used to make silk. The wild silk moth also eats mulberry. Other Lepidoptera larvae—which include the common emerald, lime hawk-moth, sycamore moth,, and fall webworm—also eat the plant.1
Literature / Sources:
- Wikipedia. Morus (plant) [Internet]. Version dated May 24, 2018 [Quoted May 29, 2018] Available from: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morus_(plant)