White Mulberry (Morus Alba L.)


M. alba


Often known alternatively as the mulberry family, the moraceae family is recognized by a variety of characteristics such as region and unique plant elements. Found mostly in tropical and subtropical regions, plants belonging to the moraceae family are typically deciduous or evergreens and shrubs. Common to most of the plants belonging to this family is multiple fruits and milky sap in the parenchymatous tissue.

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Naturalized distribution of White Mulberry in North America


Native to China, this plant is notable for its prominence in the production of silk. According to legend, Empress Hsi Ling Shi discovered the qualities of silk as she sat under the mulberry tree and a cocoon dropped into her tea, unraveling. Over the course of centuries following the prominence of the Silk Road, white mulberry has been cultivated in regions of Europe, India, through some areas of the Middle East. Most recently, white mulberry has been naturalized throughout North America and is considered a weedy invasive plant. This is due to its easy hybridization with the red mulberry native to North America.


The white mulberry is a medium sized tree growing anywhere between 10 and 20m tall. White mulberry trees are notable for their leaves, which range between 10 and 30 cm long. The white mulberry tree is notable for its ability to grow in a wide range of conditions and its resistance to frost. The fruit of the white mulberry ranges from white to pink berries.

Affect on Humans

White mulberry is used for a wide range of things in daily life. It acts as a food

source for humans and animals. The berries produced from the tree are said to have an insipid taste, lacking the tartness or sweetness of other mulberry trees, such as the Red Mulberry or Black Mulberry. Despite this people eat the fruit that is produced and the tree is often cultivated for animal feed.

The white mulberry is also believed to have some medicinal purposes. It is considered to be an astringent, antibacterial, and hypoglycemic, among other things. In Asian traditions, the white mulberry’s properties aid in the treatment of cavities.

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Role in the Production of Silk

The production of silk has been a lucrative business for thousands of years. In today's modern times, some cultures have held on to the tradition of silk making, or sericulture. Japan is one of these cultures, valuing silk as a cultural staple. The production of silk starts with the laying of the silkworm eggs, which then develop into larvae. After this stage, the larvae must eat in order to grow. For the purposes of silk production, the larvae are fed mulberry leaves, which produce the finest silk. After 6 weeks of continual feeding, the larvae grow to their maximum size, and are ready to beginning the spinning process. Spinning the cocoon is called pupating and takes about a week to ten days. The larvae do this through the secretions from glands on their body. The final stage in sericulture is unwinding the cocoons to harvest the silk, which is often done through boiling, steaming, or hot air.


WILD Card!

The World's Most Expensive Silk Sari!!!

Traditionally, in many cultures silk is used at times of celebration and importance. In many Asian and Southeast Asian cultures, silk plays a prominent role in wedding attire for women. In Western culture, women spend thousands of dollars on wedding dresses made of all types of fabrics, but silk is extremely prominent. In Indian weddings, the woman's attire is a Sari, a traditional outfit that is commonly silk for these occasions.

Designers today have taken the concept of the Sari to a whole new level. While the world's most expensive sari is not for a specific purpose, it embodies some of the most important characteristics of the culture. At $100,000 this sari is the most expensive. Made by Chennai Silks, this sari shows artwork by the famous Raja Ravi Varma. On the traditional silk frock, diamonds, gold, and rubies were woven through the fabric. Highlighting the culture, this silk garment is red, much like traditional wedding attire, but was debuted by famous Indian actresses.

Extensive work went into this piece of artwork. It is the first piece to ever need 7,440 jacquard hooks. Workers toiled away at this one silk sari for about 4,680 hours.

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