Mulberry

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MFA Acc. #: 1999.706

Description

Deciduous trees belonging to the mulberry family (Moraceae, genus-Morus) are widely found in all temperate climates. These flowering trees produce a milky latex sap and an edible fruit. The white mulberry, Morus alba, is native to Asia and grown in Europe. Its leaves are used as a food supply for silk worms. The roots of the white mulberry and others, such as the Osage Orange mulberry, produce a yellow dye used for coloring prints. The red mulberry, Morus rubra, native to North America, has hard reddish brown wood with an uneven texture and silver graining. It is a rot resistant wood that is used for fence posts, window sills, window frames and shoe lasts. The fruit from the red mulberry has been used for a dark red to purple dye. The colorant is an acid base indicator that turns red in acids and blue in bases. See also paper mulberry.

MFA Acc. #: 2002.145

Synonyms and Related Terms

white mulberry (Morus alba); red mulberry (Morus rubra); paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera); mûrier (Fr.); gelso (It.); kuwa (Jap.)

Other Properties

Small tree growing to 15 m with low branches and spreading crown. Bark=gray with irregular ridges. Leaves = oval with serrated edges and irregular lobes (5-9 cm). Fruit=edible berry (2-3cm long, similar to blackberries) ripening in late summer.

Density 35-45 ppcf

Additional Images


Authority

  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • R.J. Adrosko, Natural Dyes in the United States, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, 1968
  • F. H. Titmuss, Commercial Timbers of the World, The Technical Press Ltd., London, 1965
  • R.D. Harley, Artists' Pigments c. 1600-1835, Butterworth Scientific, London, 1982
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, http://www.britannica.com Comment: "mulberry" Encyclopædia Britannica [Accessed October 24, 2001].
  • Website address 1 Comment: Virginia Tech Dendrology website at www.fw.vt.edu/dendro/dendrology/main.htm (accessed Oct. 8, 2005)
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998

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