Morinda-Morus (Sturtevant, 1919)

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Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Morinda-Morus (Sturtevant, 1919)

Morinda citrifolia Linn.


Tropical shores in Hindustan, throughout the Malayan Archipelago and neighboring Polynesian islands. Its fruit is a great favorite with the Burmese, served in their curries. Labillardiere says the fruit is in great request among the Friendly Islanders, but its taste is insipid. Captain Cook states that the fruit is eaten in Tahiti in times of scarcity, and that the taste is very indifferent.

Morinda tinctoria Roxb.


East Indies and Malay. According to Brandis, 5 this species is cultivated throughout India. Don says the green fruits are pickled and eaten with curries.

5 Brandis, D. Forest Fl. 278. 1874.

Moringa aptera Gaertn.


Nubia and Arabia. The seeds are exported to Syria and Palestine for medicinal and alimentary use. 6

6 Baillon H. Hist. Pls. 3:170. 1874.

Moringa concanensis Nimmo.

East Indies and India. The unripe fruit is eaten. 7

7 Brandis, D. Forest Fl. 130. 1874.

Moringa pterygosperma Gaertn.


Northwest India. The horseradish tree is cultivated for its fruit, which is eaten as a vegetable and preserved as a pickle, and for its leaves and flowers which are likewise eaten. 8 Dutt 9 says it is cultivated for its leaves, flowers and seed-vessels, which are used by the natives in their curries. The root, says Royle, 10 is universally known to European residents in India as a substitute for horseradish. Ainslie 11 says the root is generally used and the pods are an excellent vegetable. According to Firminger, 12 the root serves as a horseradish and the long, unripe seed-pods are used boiled in curries. It is also cultivated by the Burmese for its pods, but by Europeans it is chiefly valued for its roots. 13 In the Philippines, the leaves and fruit are cooked and eaten. 14 In the West Indies, the oil expressed from the seeds is used in salads. 15

8 Ibid.

9 Dutt, U.C. Mat. Med. Hindus 117. 1877.

10 Royle, J.F. Illustr. Bot. himal. I:180. 1839.

11 Ainslie, W. Mat. Ind. I:175. 1826.

12 Firminger Gard. Ind. 130 (Hyperanthera moringa).

13 Pickering, C. Chron. Hist. Pls. 298. 1879.

14 Ibid.

15 Ibid.

Moronobea grandiflora Choizy.


A tall tree of Brazil. Arruda says the fruit is nearly of the size of an orange but is oval and contains 23 stones covered with a white pulp of a pleasant taste, being sweet and somewhat acid. It is called bacuri.

Morus alba Linn.


A tree of China and Japan but naturalized in Europe, Asia and America. It is commonly supposed, says Thompson, that cuttings of the white mulberry were first brought into Tuscany from the Levant in 1434 and in the course of the century this species had almost entirely superceded M. nigra for the feeding of silk worms in Italy. The variety multicaulis was brought from Manila to Senegal, and some years afterwards to Europe, and was described by Kenrick, 1835, preceding which date it had reached America. In 1773 or 1774, Wm. Bartram noticed large plantations of M. alba grafted on M. rubra near Charleston, S. C., for the purpose of feeding silk worms, but it is probable that its first introduction was coeval with the interest in silk culture before 1660. The mulberry trees planted in Virginia in 1623 by order of the Colonial Assembly were probably of this species. There are many varieties of M. alba, and in India it is cultivated for its fruit, of which some kinds are sweet, some acid, and of all shades of color from white to a deep blackish-purple. In Kashmir and Afghanistan, the fruit furnishes a considerable portion of the food of the inhabitants in autumn and much of it is dried and preserved. In Kabul, there is a white, seedless variety called shah-toot, or royal mulberry. The fruits are from two to two and one-half inches long and of the thickness of the small finger, very sweet, and the tree is inexhaustibly prolific. In its season it forms the chief food of the poor.

Morus celtidifolia H. B. & K.

Peru to Mexico. The tree bears an edible fruit.

Morus indica Linn.


Tropical Asia. The aino mulberry is cultivated in Bengal for feeding silk worms, and about Bombay its dark red fruit is sold in the bazaars for making tarts.

Morus laevigata Wall.

East Indies. This species is found wild and cultivated in the Himalayas and elsewhere in India. The fruit is long, cylindrical, yellowish-white, sweet but insipid. The long, cylindrical, purple fruit is much eaten.

Morus nigra Linn.


Temperate Asia. The black mulberry is a native of north Persia and the Caucasus. It was brought at a very early period to Greece. Theophrastus was acquainted with it and called it sukamnos. It is only at a late period that this tree, brought by Lucius Vitellus from Syria to Rome, was successfully reared in Italy, after all earlier experiments, according to Pliny, had been conducted in vain. At the time of Palladius and even in that of Athaneus, the mulberry tree had multiplied but little in that country. The introduction of silk culture under Justinian gave a new importance to this tree, and, from that time to the present, its propagation in western and northern Europe, Denmark and Sweden has taken place very rapidly. It was not till the sixteenth century that this plant was superceded by M. alba for the feeding of silk worms. This species, according to Mueller, was planted in France in 1500. In the United States, it is scarcely hardy north of New York, but there and southward it is occasionally cultivated for its fruit. In 1760, Jefferys states it was not found in Louisiana.

Morus rubra Linn.


From New England to Illinois and southward. The fruit is preferred, says Emerson, to that of any other species by most people. The tree grows abundantly in northern Missouri and along the rivers of Kansas. In Indian Territory, the large, sweet, black fruit is greatly esteemed by the Indians. This fruit was observed by De Soto on the route to Apalachee, and the tree was seen by Strachey on James River planted around native dwellings.

Morus serrata Roxb.

Himalayan region. This species is cultivated in Kunawar. It is common in the Himalayas. The purple fruit is mucilaginous and sweet but not very fleshy.