Interesting Facts About Mulberries

16 Fascinating Facts About Mulberries

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The mulberry is an exceptionally unique and intriguing fruit that has been cherished for centuries around the world. Though they may appear rather unassuming at first glance, mulberries conceal a wealth of captivating history, impeccable nutrition, and avant-garde applications that deserve appreciation.

Introduction

Emerging in a range of rich shades from lavender to raven black, the mulberry fruit originates from the Morus genus of flowering plants that includes 10-16 species. Their taste has been depicted as a delectable cross between blackberries and grapes with a luscious, honey-tinged sweetness and just a tinge of tartness.

Beyond their scrumptious flavor and vibrant hues lies a bevy of compelling mulberry facts that you may never have guessed. From their illustrious background in ancient Chinese silk production to their present-day status as a funky, up-and-coming superfood, mulberries have a rich story to tell.

Peruse the following listicle to have your mind blown by some riveting trivia about this fruit. You may just gain a newfound appreciation for mulberries after discovering what makes them so special.

Eye-Opening Mulberry Facts

Selective Focus Photo of Growing Mulberries
  1. Mulberries Have an Extensive History in Chinese Silk MakingAncient Chinese farmers remarkably discovered that silkworms thrive when fed mulberry leaves, so they systematically planted millions of mulberry trees to foster silk production. The practice continues today, with China producing 85% of the world’s mulberry leaves.
  2. There are 3 Main Types of MulberriesThe black mulberry, red mulberry, and white mulberry are the primary mulberry species. Black mulberries are most widespread, while red mulberries are indigenous to North America.
  3. Mulberries Contain Double the Amount of Iron than SpinachOunce for ounce, mulberries contain 1.68 milligrams of iron compared to spinach which has .81 milligrams per ounce. This makes them an eminent plant-based source of this mineral.
  4. They are Chock-Full of Bone-Protecting Vitamin KBoasting 42 micrograms of vitamin K per cup, mulberries outshine broccoli, kale, spinach, and most other common fruits and vegetables as a vitamin K source. This vitamin promotes bone and heart health.
  5. Mulberries Provide the Complete Set of Antioxidant PhytonutrientsIn addition to being rich in vitamin C, mulberries contain a full assortment of antioxidant phytonutrients including anthocyanins, lutein, zea-xanthin, resveratrol, and assorted other flavonoids.
  6. The Romans Used Mulberry Leaves as MedicineDocuments show that mulberry leaves were regularly given by Roman doctors around 50 BCE to provide relief from diseases ranging from sore throat to liver problems. The leaves were also made into teas and extracts.
  7. Some Birds Get Drunk off Fermented MulberriesOccasionally flocks of American robins and cedar waxwings can be seen stumbling around appearing drunk after having gorged themselves on a feast of overly ripe, fermented mulberries which have an alcohol content up to 3%.
  8. Mulberry Trees Can Live Hundreds of YearsWith ideal growing conditions and care, mulberry trees typically thrive for 60 to 70 years though some specimens have remained alive and continued bearing fruit for several centuries. The oldest known mulberry tree in the world is over 400 years old.
  9. The Trees Were Brought to America to Start a Silk IndustryIn the early 1700s, British landowners in colonial America began importing millions of mulberry trees in an ambitious attempt to launch a profitable silk business. The silkworms unfortunately could not survive the harsh North American climate causing the enterprise to fail rather quickly.
  10. Some Species Can Grow Berries as Long as a FingerCertain varieties of black mulberry trees produce oblong fruit that reaches an astounding length of 3 inches making them appear more like a cluster of bloated blackberries than a typical mulberry.
  11. The Trees Bleed a Crimson SapIf you slice into the bark of a mulberry tree, a dark red liquid oozes out that has historically been used as a dye. Some cultures drank the sap as a health elixir while others used it to paint pottery.
  12. Mulberry Wine Has Been Produced Since Roman TimesThe sweet taste and deep red juice of mulberries has long been utilized for making richly-hued wines often compared to port. Some winemakers are reviving the ancient practice with modern techniques.
  13. The Fruit is Adored by Birds, Bears, and Bugs AlikeIn nature, mulberry trees act as a major food source sustaining diverse wildlife including songbirds, black bears, squirrels, foxes, and even silkworms as mentioned. The bounty of large, sugary berries keeps forest creatures well-fed.
  14. White Mulberries are Considered Invasive in Some AreasWhite mulberry trees can spread aggressively by seed if left uncontrolled so they are classified as an invasive species in forests and conservation areas of the United States. The trees crowd out native plants.
  15. Some Cultures Use the Wood to Make Hockey SticksThe supple, resilient timber of white mulberry trees has just the right properties to be crafted into field hockey sticks. The wood is frequently used for this purpose in Pakistan where the sport is beloved.
  16. The Trees Were Once Sold on the Black MarketWhen mulberry trees were smuggled into Europe from China in the 1400s before the silk industry took off, the forbidden contraband had to be sold secretly on black markets sometimes disguised as cabbage plants.

Conclusion

Who would have thought the modest mulberry concealed such an astounding assortment of tantalizing tidbits? From their antiquated medicinal remedies to the staggering 300-foot colossi dotting Chinese landscapes today, mulberries have woven their way into human history and culture in myriad unexpected ways.

With such wholesome nutrition, dazzling colors, and adaptable applications, these flavorful gems have earned their place as an elite plant providing food, shelter, medicine, and craft material from the days of Roman antiquity down to the present era. Just be wary of getting caught under a mulberry tree after some tipsy robins have gorged on the fermented fruit!


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