Morus alba (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Althaea rosea
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Morus alba (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Morus nigra
Morus alba
Morus alba

Morus alba L.

Local name:

  • Russian: тутовник белый - tutovnik belyj
  • Uzbek: Ok tut, Khasak tut, Balik tut, Ilon tut

Description and morphology: Tree (height up to 12 m) with compact rounded crown. Stem: annual branches almost erect, grey or greyishbrown, pubescent. Buds widely oviform (about 6 mm long, 2.0 mm wide), acute or blunt at top. Leaves: long-pedicelate (3 cm long); reniform- ovate, rarely oblong-oviform, entire or 2–5 pinnate-lobed, cordate towards base and sub-acute at tip; unequal dentate at margins. Leaf surface rigid, glabrous above and sparsely pubescent from below. Male catkins cylindrical, friable or densely flowered. Flowers: unisexual; sessile, inconspicuous; perianth segments elliptical-oviform, outside pubescent. Female catkins oviform or oblong. Ovary superior or half-inferior, monospermous with one amphitropous, upright micropyle and 2 woolly stigmas. Male: cylindrical rolled (2.0–4.0 cm long); 4 stamens. Pollen grain widely ellipsoidal or spheroidal (13.5–36.0 μm), 2, rarely 3 pores.

Reproduction: Sexual. Also vegetative from cuttings for plantation planting. Flowering: April. Fruit maturation: May–June. Fruit: large (2.0–2.5 cm long), aggregate, fleshy, false, almost sessile, oviform, white-light pink, succulent, fragrant, oblong mulberries (infructescence).

Economic interest: In Uzbekistan from earliest times leaves (‘hasak tut’ ecoform) have been used to feed silkworms. Besides M. alba, M. bombycis, M. kagayamae and M. multicaulis are also used for sericulture in Middle Asia (Flora Uzbekistan 1953). Leaves of different hybrids (M. alba x M. multicaulis and M. multicaulis x M. bombycis x M. alba) are frequently fed to silkworms. All these hybrids have large leaves, considerable biomass and are frosttolerant. M. alba, with its twisted golden branches, named locally as ‘ilan-tut’ ecoform, is used as an ornamental. M. alba (‘balhi-tut’ ecoform) is largely cultivated for its tasty white fruit. The fruits are consumed both fresh and dried (‘qoq tut’); various syrups and drinks are produced from them. The bark and leaves can be used for yellow and black dyes. The fibre of branches is suitable for rough spinning. Paste from branches is a good raw material for manufacturing best quality paper. Wood of all species and ecoforms is used for traditional building.

Habitat: Wild species occur in the floodplain; widely cultivated on dry areas of the adyr.

Distribution: Caucasus and Uzbekistan.