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Plant Catalogue

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Black Mulberry

Morus nigra

The Black Mulberry is a small tree originally from Asia but now grown all over the world. It is a tree that thrives in a range of climates, from dry hot Mediterranean, to temperate, through to the subtropics. It grows to about 6-10 metres over time, but can be kept as a small tree or a bushy shrub with pruning, making harvesting much more feasible. 


Black Mulberry fruit are small, sweet, tangy and delicious but don't keep well so are rarely sold commercially. The fruit can ripen over many weeks or even a few months, making them ideal for a home garden where an extended harvest is preferable to having a big glut of fruit all at once. Fruit usually ripens in late spring or summer, but here in the north they can sometimes produce multiple crops a year, even in the middle of winter. 


Black Mulberry trees are low maintenance trees, having little need for fertilizer, and being tolerant of both drought and of heavy, wet soils. They do well planted on riverbanks, can handle some shade but fruit better in full sun. They are self fertile. In colder climates they lose their leaves in autumn and grow them back in spring, but here in Te Tai Tokerau they can hold their leaves well into winter, and start leafing out again almost straight away.


Black Mulberry trees are notably resistant to juglone, the chemical that walnuts and pecans produce which stunts the growth of other plants growing nearby, so they make a good companion for these nut trees, and can also act as a buffer to protect other more sensitive plants in your food forest from them.

Black Mulberry leaves are highly palatable to stock and can be pollarded or coppiced to encourage leaf production as part of a tree fodder system. Also a great tree for the chook run as chooks love to eat the fallen fruit.


Great as a fast growing, early production tree in a food forest system (they often begin their first fruiting while still in the nursery!). With pruning they can occupy many different layers, from a small shrub through to a tall emergent tree, depending on what layer you want them to fill. We try to have one planted every 3-4 metres in our syntropic food forest rows.


Much beloved of birds, especially kūkupa / kereru; in areas with high populations they have been known to strip even large trees of both fruit and leaves. A good solution is to prune your trees to keep them small and net them. Another potential solution is to plant multiple trees and produce more fruit than they can eat!

A great multipurpose and versatile tree for the Permaculture home garden, food forest or lifestyle block.

Size: 1.3L

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