There are several species of the Morus or Mulberry. The white kind is commonly cultivated for its leaves to feed silkworms, though in some parts of Spain, and in Persia, they are said to prefer the Black Mulberry. In China, it appears that both sorts are grown for this purpose. The most esteemed variety of the white is grown in Italy, and especially in Lombardy, with vigorous shoots, and much larger leaves than the other. The Morus multicaulis is cul-tivated in many parts of France, and is by some preferred to all other varieties. It is said that a less quantity of foliage from this variety will satisfy the silkworms. The late Andrew Parmentier, Esq., was the means of introducing several choice varieties from that country; and our nurserymen in general, have of late years, turned their attention to the cultivation of such as are best adapted to silkworms, which are sold at moderate prices.
In Fiance, the white Mulberry is grown as pollard Elms are in England. In Lombardy, it is grown in low, marshy ground. In China, it is also grown in moist, loamy soil, and both there and in the East Indies, as low bushes, and the plantations rooted up and renewed every three or four years. In many parts, when the leaves are wanted for the worms, they are stripped off the young shoots, which are left naked on the tree; in other places, the shoots are cut off, which is not so injurious to the tree, while the points of the shoots, as well as the leaves, are eaten by the worms.
The plants are sometimes raised from seed, and one ounce of seed will produce five thousand trees, if sown in rich loamy soil in the latter end of April, or early in May; but the young plants will require protection the first winter; they are more commonly propagated by layers and cuttings, put down in the spring. The Italian variety is frequently grafted on seedling stocks of the common sort, in order to preserve it from degenerating. In the East Indies, the plants are raised from cuttings, three or four of which are placed together where they are finally to remain.
But Mulberry trees are valuable for their fruit; and in England the black and red kinds are in great esteem, and much cultivated. The fruit of the white Mulberry is white, and less acid than that of the black species. The black is naturally a stronger tree than the other; the fruit is of a dark, blackish red, and of an agreeable aromatic and acid flavour. The red Mulberry has black shoots, rougher leaves than the black Mulberry, and a dark, reddish fruit, longer than the common sort, and of a very pleasant taste. The fruit of the yellow Mulberry is very sweet and wholesome, but not much eaten, excepting by birds; the timber, however, is valuable, from its abounding in a slightly glutinous milk of a sulphurous colour, and is known in Europe under the name of fustic wood, for dying a yellow colour.
In Russia, the fruit of the Morus tartarica is eaten fresh, conserved, or dried; a wine and a spirit are also made from them, but the berries are said to be of an insipid taste.
All the species of the Morus are remarkable for putting out their leaves late, so that when they appear, gardeners may safely set out their green-house plants, taking it for granted that all danger from frost is over; from this circumstance, plantations of Mulberry trees may be made in this country in the spring of the year with greater safety.
The Mulberry produces its fruit chiefly on little shoots of the same year, which arise on last year's wood and on spurs from the two-year-old wood; in both stages, mostly at the ends of the shoots and the branches. In pruning thin out irregular crossing branches, but never shorten the young wood, on which fruit is produced. If any of the dwarfish kinds are cultivated as espaliers for their fruits, cut so as to bring in a partial succession of new wood every year, and a complete succession once in two years, taking the old barren wood out, as may be necessary. As the blossom buds cannot be readily distinguished from others in the winter, the best period for pruning is when the blossoms first become visible in the spring.
There is another genus of plants, known as the Paper Mulberry, which is very ornamental, called Broussonetia papyrifera; though a low tree, it has vigorous shoots, furnished with two large leaves; the fruit, which is small, is surrounded with long purple hairs, changing to a black purple colour when ripe, and full of juice. "In China and Japan, it is cultivated for the sake of the young shoots, from the bark of which the inhabitants of the Eastern countries make paper. The bark being separated from the wood, is steeped in water, the former making the whitest and best paper. The bark is next slowly boiled, then washed, and afterward put upon a wooden table, and beat into a pulp. This pulp being put in water, separates like grains of meal. An infusion of rice, and the root of manhiot, are next added to it. From the liquor so prepared, the sheets of paper are poured out one by one, and when pressed the operation is finished"
"The juice of this tree is sufficiently tenacious to be used in China as a glue, in gilding either leather or paper. The finest and whitest cloth worn by the principal people at Otaheite, and in the Sandwich Islands, is made of the bark of this tree. The cloth of the Bread Fruit tree is inferior in whiteness and softness, and worn chiefly by the common people."