Friday, July 15, 2022

Black mulberry in history

Morus nigra L., also called black mulberry, is native to Southwestern Asia. It has been grown throughout Europe and around the Mediterranean for centuries.

The term, Morus, comes from the Latin word ‘mora’, meaning delay, probably because of the very slow development of its buds. An alternative explanation is that it comes from the Celtic ‘mor’ (black), referring to the colour of the fruit.

Black mulberry is believed to have originated from Iran. It was known to the Greeks and Romans before the Christian era. Black mulberry was one of the first to be adapted and cultivated for its fruits, not only for food but also for medicinal purposes, by Greeks and Romans.

It was also cultivated in ancient Egypt. It is the most important species in the Mediterranean countries. The black mulberry (Turkish name “Kara Dut”) is widely grown in Turkey for its delicious edible fruits.

It was reported that M. nigra was cultivated in classical times in Italy, and was grown in Greece and Italy for the silk worm industry until the introduction of Morus alba, which is of greater nutritive value for silk worms.

The tree was introduced into America for silkworm culture in early colonial times and naturalized and hybridized with the native red mulberry.

According to a classical fable, the fruit of mulberry was once white but got reddened by the tragic lovers, Pyramus and Thisbe, a story parodied by Shakespeare in Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Black mulberry in history

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