The mulberry is one of the most ancient fruits over Central and, Eastern Asia and to this day Albert Regel says: " They are considered the most valuable nourishment from the region of Zarafshan eastward to the Amu-Daria. Dried mulberries furnish a sweet food in the country where corn is scarce, and in every household large piles are stored for winter use. In Shugaan a dish full of dried mulberries is used as a unit of measure, and the help of the physician, as well as the skill of the singer is valued at so many dishes of mulberries. A bag full of dried mulberry-meal forms the provision for pedestrians and hunters." It can hardly be said that it is a popular fruit as yet in this country.
But few varieties are found in our nurseries thought to be worthy of propagation, and some of these, notably the large fruiting varieties of the Southwest, are not hardy at the North. The propagation of late has been by using seedlings of the common Russian varieties by side-grafting at the crown, as practiced with the pear, cherry, and plum (86). Several nurserymen practice spring scion-budding as explained in Section 94 and Fig. 53 of Part I. This work is done just before the foliage expands on the stocks used, or as soon as the bark slips freely. In spring or summer budding the buds appear to be drowned out by the free flow of milky sap.
Under this general name a variety is much cultivated in the South. It is a low grower, not exceeding fifteen feet in height, with spreading top and deeply lobed leaves. Fruit one and one-half inches long and nearly an inch in diameter; quality better than any of our American varieties - but not hardy north of the fortieth parallel even on the east coast.
Large, thick, fleshy, quality very rich and good; extensively grown in California, Arizona, Texas, and the South. It belongs to the Morus nigra species of East Europe. In California this variety fruits continually from May until October, and under irrigation it behaves the same in Arizona and Texas.
Downing - Large, one and one-quarter inches long and three-quarters of an inch in diameter; color blue black. Flesh juicy, rich, with sprightly flavor. Hardy east of the lakes and south of the forty-first parallel in the West.
Very large, oblong, nearly black in color. Flesh subacid, and excellent in quality. The leaves of this variety are very large, and it is a popular shade-tree in southern cities as far south as San Antonio, Texas. Ohio.
Large, oblong, black; quality very good, with some acid. A variety of the Russian mulberry, originated by T. V. Munson, of Texas. As Mr. Munson says: " The branches in fruit look like ropes of big berries," as grown in the South. This is hardy farther north than Downing.
Large, oblong; color black; quality very good. Hardier in Ohio and in the Southeast and South; but tender at the West. It is said that this is often sold under the name of Downing.
Very large, often two inches long and three-quarters of an inch in diameter; valuable in the South, and it does well under irrigation in southwest Texas. This belongs to the native species of the South (Morus rulra).