Morus nigra (Gintzburger et al., 2003)

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Morus alba
Gintzburger et al., Rangelands in Uzbekistan, 2003
Morus nigra (Gintzburger et al., 2003)
Nitraria sibirica
Morus nigra
Morus nigra
Morus nigra


Morus nigra L.

Local name:

  • Russian: Шелковица черная - šelkovica černaja
  • Tadjik: Shah-tut

Description and morphology: Tree (height up to 20 m) with compact rounded crown. Stem: thick, twisting trunk. Annual branches redbrown, almost erect, sparsely hairy. Buds (3–4 mm long), oviform, glabrous, young silkyhairy. Leaves: short-pedicellate, oviform, entire or lobed (8–5 cm long, 5–12 cm wide), cordate towards base and sub-acute at top; unequal dentate at margins. Leaf surface rigid, glabrous above and sparsely pubescent from below. Monoecious, rarely dioecious. Flowers: unisexual; assembled in glomerate sessile catkins. Female: oviform, small (about 1 cm long), reflexed, densely flowered with fleshy gradually accrescent, white 4-metamerous perianth. 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 spheroid, 2, rarely 3 pores.

Reproduction: Anemophilous. Flowering: April. Fruit maturation: May–June. Fruit: large (2.0– 2.5 cm long), aggregate, fleshy, false, almost sessile, oviform, black-violet or black, succulent, sweet-and-sour, fragrant mulberries (infructescences).

Economic interest: Widely cultivated as ornamental plant, and feed for silkworms. The fruits are edible both fresh and dried; various syrups and drinks are produced from them. In Middle Asia, dried fruits are processed for the preparation of flour. The best fruit of Morus nigra is ‘shah-tut’. The wood of M. alba is better quality than that of M. nigra. 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.

Distribution: Widely cultivated plant in Central Asia, Mediterranean areas, European part of USSR, Caucasus, western Europe and Iran.