Originally from China and Persia and mainly grown for their leaves for the silk worms. When taken to other countries only the fruit was viable. Fruit has been eaten for at least 3000 years in the Middle East.
Ideal shade tree, large and stately ornamental tree. Do not plant where tree will drop fruit onto concrete paths or driveways as the fruit will stain.
Sweet and juicy red to black fruit containing Vitamin C, K, B and E, potassium, magnesium iron and fibre. Contain anti inflammatory properties. The leaves were used in ancient Chinese medicine and may be anti-bacterial. Useful in diabetic treatment of high blood pressure.
How to Eat
Ideally eaten fresh is best but can be used in baking, making wine and liqueurs.
Will fruit after two years, 25-40kg per tree after 7years. A well fed and watered tree may fruit more than once a year or over an extensive period i.e. 3 months. If possible a good idea is to spread a tarpaulin under tree to catch fruit. Will not keep more than a few days fresh in the fridge.
Generic Fruiting Time
Plant in a sunny position away from paths as fruit will stain paths.
Generally no problem with wind but protect from strong winds until it has a good root system.
Probably the most tolerant of temperature. Only the Black Mulberry requires chilling encourage flower buds. Frost tender when young.
Warm deep, well drained loam. They have a deep rooting system. Fairly drought resistant but likes plenty of water when in fruit, or fruit may drop prematurely.
Plant with support until roots take hold. Protect from frosts while young.
General NPK fertiliser in spring.
Initially prune for a good structure, thence to retain shape and height. Removing tips will encourage more fruiting spurs. Prune only when dormant.
Generally very healthy but a Bordeaux spray in autumn may be needed for black spot and power mildew.