Did you know

16 Ιαν 2024

Did you know? The mulberry tree

Cyprus was famous for its silk production. Silkworms were fed on mulberry leaves from trees which could be found all over Cyprus. Kythrea village and Lapithos where mulberry trees were in abundance were most famous for their silk production. But mulberry trees also produced edible fruit. The red and black mulberry produced deep red, very sweet fruit, while Morus alba produced fruit in the Middle Ages was used mainly for animal consumption and disregarded as fruit for humans.

The red mulberry (Morus rubra) of eastern North America is the largest of the genus, often reaching a height of 21 metres (70 feet). It has two-lobed, three-lobed, or unlobed leaves and dark purple edible fruits. White mulberry (Morus alba), native to Asia but long cultivated in southern Europe, is so called because of the white fruits it bears; its leaves are used as food for silkworms. It is naturalized in eastern North America. Black mulberry (Morus nigra), the most common species, is a native of western Asia that spread westward in cultivation at an early period. Up to the 15th century it was extensively grown in Italy for raising silkworms, but it has since been superseded by white mulberry. Now an introduced species in North America, it is mainly cultivated for its large juicy purple-black fruits, which are superior in flavour to those of red mulberry.

The ‘Did You Know’ series is made possible with the support of OPAP (Cyprus) and the Active Citizens Fund.

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