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Pakistan Mulberry tree cultivation

Pakistan Mulberry

(Morus macroura)

 

Pakistan Mulberry Overview:

This is a delicious early ripening fruit which is similar in flavor to a raspberry but without the hard/crunchy seeds.  It has been a fast growing trouble free tree for me.

Ripening Pakistan Mulberry fruit

Ripening Pakistan Mulberry fruit

Fruit Taste:  

  • The Pakistan Mulberry is sweet with a mild raspberry-like flavor and subtle richer overtones.  They are the sweetest when they are very dark and become “dull” (when they lose their glossy shine).
  • It is not quite as tart as a raspberry and a bit less juicy.  In fact, this fruit is rather dry compared to other fruits and has an almost vegetable quality.  As a comparison, the Pakistan Mulberry is firmer and dryer than the Persian Mulberry, which makes it less messy/easier to handle.  A major plus for this fruit is that there are no crunchy seeds to get stuck in your teeth like a raspberry.
  • The berry can be eaten whole.  However, there is a stringy central core to the fruit which is edible but does not add much value to the taste.  Therefore, some people like to strip the berry clean of the central core by pulling the fruit through their teeth and discarding the core. Myself, I find this slows me down and I would rather just eat the whole thing.

 

Unfolding Pakistan Mulberry leaves and fruit

Unfolding Pakistan Mulberry leaves and fruit

Fruit Appearance:

  • The fruit will first reveal itself with the opening of the leaf buds; the leaves and unripe fruit unravel together.  The green fruit will turn red and then nearly black when fully ripe.
  • As expected, the darker fruit is riper and has a better flavor.  However, sometimes you may want to pick the fruit before it reaches its prime because of hungry birds or squirrels.  If the fruit has some color on it when picked, it will ripen off the tree (in the safety of your kitchen).  Regardless, the less ripe fruit with some green on it is not too bad either, just not as good.
  • The fruit will generally fall into your hand with a tap or gentle tug when it’s ready.  Don’t forget to look around the ground because some excellent fruit will fall off the tree when in its prime.

 

Ripening Pakistan Mulberry on tree

Ripening Pakistan Mulberry on tree

Fruit Season:

This is an early ripening mulberry.  This year and last year, the tree started producing fruit in April and will likely continue into June.

 

Landscaping use:

  • It is a very fast growing tree and needs to be diligently pruned to keep it manageable.
  • It is semi-deciduous (at least in Southern California) which means it drops some- but not all of its leaves in the winter.   So the few remaining leaves on the tree make it look a bit sad in the winter months.  As a result, it is not a great looking specimen for the colder parts of the year.  Therefore consider the backyard and not the front of the house.  However, in the summer it is a beautiful healthy looking tree with abundant large heart shaped leaves.
  • The tree has been reported to grow up to 70 feet, but typically tops out around 30 feet in height.  Plant the tree a good distance from your house, sidewalk or driveway to avoid future hassle.

 

Soil:

 

Water:

The tree is said to be mildly drought tolerant (once established) because they have a deep root system.

 

Sun:

Full sun is best, but the Pakistan Mulberry is adaptable.

 

Fertilization:

I have been going light on fertilization because the plant grows so fast and looks so green.

 

Temp:

  • Southern California coastal zones seem to be ideal for the Pakistan Mulberry.  This is a “low chill” variety fruit tree but can withstand temps down to 25 degrees F.
  • For more information about the lowest temperatures that you can expect in your area, check out my article “Climate Zones: What can I grow in my yard?”

 

Pests:

  • The tree is currently (and has been) bug free without the use of insecticides.
  • A major problem is fighting the birds and squirrels for the fruit. I use Holographic Bird Scare Tape that works rather well at keeping the birds away.  If you are going to use glitter tape, it is best to only use it during the fruit season so that the birds don’t get use to it.  A very similar product is Flash Tape but I haven’t tried that.
  • Bird netting is another option but the tree grows so fast during the fruiting season that it may become a tangled mess that damages growing leaves.
  • Another option is to pick the fruit just before they are fully red and let them ripen inside the house.
  • Because ground Squirrels also love the fruit.  I suggest that you go out of your way to pick the fallen fruit off the ground before the rodents figure it out.  The less they know the better.
  • UPDATE:  A thoughtful reader just informed me of another significant threat to mulberry trees (see 5/14/13 comment below).  Squirrels may also devour the leaves of a  mulberry tree- stripping it of  of all of its leaves.  Yikes!

 

Food uses:

  • The fruit tastes wonderful just off the tree it is hard to eat just a few.
  • The Pakistan Mulberry is also used for just about anything you would use a raspberry for:  muffins, cakes, pies, cobbler, tarts, jams, etc.
  • Some people also simmer the fruit with red wine and spices to create a sauce for red meat or game birds.

 

Ready to eat Pakistan Mulberries

A Handful of ready to eat Pakistan Mulberries

Misc:

  • The original Pakistan Mulberry cuttings that were brought into the US were from Islamabad.
  • The Pakistan Mulberry tree has been known to live for hundreds of years in Pakistan and Asia Minor.
  • Silkworms only eat fresh mulberry leaves
  • Pakistan Mulberry is also known as the Himalayan Mulberry and Shatoot.

 

About Thomas Osborne, MD

Dr. Osborne is a Harvard trained Radiologist and Neuroradiologist who loves to share his insight about medicine and gardening.

29 comments

  1. Just a note about squirrels and Mulberry trees. The leaves of the Mulberry are quite edible for animals and humans alike, similar to grape leaves. Squirrels will not only strip a Mulberry tree of it’s fruit, but also it’s leaves. This happened to us within a month after planting our two Mulberry trees. We purchased 2 squirrel traps and caught 13 squirrels within a few weeks, in the general vicinity of the trees. Once, the squirrels were eliminated, both trees recovered and produced more leaves. But they have not produced any more fruit, so far, this season.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Catt
      What a painful story about your mulberry tree. Thank you for sharing your story and your insight. I will update the mulberry post with your added information. Thanks!

  2. In South Florida there is a huge problem with white flies, unfortunately, they also like the Mulberry trees. Keep an eye out for them and check under the leaves. Natural predators are finally starting to move in slowly but for now they still need to be controlled. I just bought a Pakistani Mulberry tree today and was told that here it is deciduous and that it also is susceptible to root rot. That won’t be a problem since all we have is sand! I am hoping the Iguanas won’t be a problem with the leaves. I will have to wait and see.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Elena
      Thanks for the great info. Ill keep a look out for the white fly’s. Fortunately the Iguanas keep to the pet stores here in California. However, our ground squirrels can do major damage to leaves and fruit. Good luck with the Pakistani Mulberry; its a great tree. Keep us posted on your progress.
      Thanks,
      Tom

  3. I still have fond memories of growing up in Boarding school in India and stealing a handful of mulberries from the Principals back yard almost as a reaction to his military discipline ;-)
    So I found a nice Mulberry tree still left over from a Nursery sale and bought it. It is a Persian Mulberry tree and has done well but the fruit were not as tasty as my memories. So in my normal browsing of local Nurseries( I go Tree shopping as my wife goes Clothes, jewelry, etc shopping), I came across a forelorn Mulberry and took it home. It was a Pakistani Mulberry and even though as Indians I was not too keen on a Pakistani Mulberry tree, I have found it to be DEEEELICIOUS and brings back fond memories. It is a sturdier tree than the Persian, and grows taller, fruits earlier and so far has avoided unwelcome attention from pesky squirrels who have maurauded my oranges, cherries, Peaches, and Apricots. I will keep you posted on the Mulberry tree competition!

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Lol-regarding the political connotations of the mulberry tree names.
      But I agree, Pakistan Mulberry fruit are rather awesome.
      I have also noted the same pattern of growth comparing the Pakistan Mulberry to the Persian Mulberry tree.
      Looking forward to your updates.

      • Would you believe it?! My Pakistani Mulberry has burst into life. It is putting out shoots like crazy and has already formed fruit. My Persian Mulberry on the other hand is still dormant. So far Pakistani 1 Persian 0.
        BTW my Almonds, Apricots, Plums, are all in bloom but amazingly so are my Peaches!
        My Early Elberta and Strawberry which are late bloomers are already budding and in partial bloom. But the biggest surprise is my Ein Schmer Apple. Already in Bloom!! WHoever heard of Apples blooming in Feb? Funny weather this year in San Jose.

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          lol, I do believe it Sateesh. My Pakistan has done the same. My Persian Mulberry trees are always late too.
          Yea, it has been funny winter weather for us all.
          I am curious about your Strawberry Peach. Does it taste like strawberries?
          T

          • Tom, the Strawberry Peach tree is actually one of three varieties grafted on the same stock. So that means the tree itself is quite small and the strawberry peaches are few and smallish. They have white flesh and do have a taste of Strawberries. However the best variety of peach I have found is Florida Prince followed by Desert Gold and JH Hale. The Red Baron is a new sapling so I dont expect many fruit for a couple of years but I am ready to be surprised because I only just planted one and it is already budding so who knows, it could produce yet this summer. Keep you posted. BTW, I was Chief Information Officer CIO who manages the entire world of IT, computers, Telecoms, Hardware, software, Applications development, deployment, Tech support, and his key objective is in Business Transformation of systems and processes using X-functional teams of Subject Matter Experts, Project Managers, etc. CIOs tend to be very business focused as distinct from CTOs who manage the Tech Support and new Tech part of the CIOs business. Thus the CIO tends to be a Business person drawn from Engineering, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Finance, Acctg, Sales, Operations. I myself came from Engineering, Mfg, Supply Chain and Operations/Process. Sorry but CTOs are not CIOs. Anyway, managing this function for Global Giants is a very high pressure job, very long hours, very stressful, lots of office politics, and I am now so happy to have retired to thoughts of Pakistani vs Persian Mulberries ;-) LOL!! Best regards.

          • Thomas Osborne, MD

            Hey Sateesh.

            Red Barron Peach:
            I love the Red Barron Peach… and the bright cluster of flowers coating the branches in the spring is an awesome sight.
            You made a great choice with that one.

            CIO:
            Thanks for the clarification. I always appreciate insight from experts in their field.
            I myself am a Medical Doctor, so I am fully aware of long stressful hours.
            However, because of my additional experience in leadership, tech, business and design I was recruited to lead several high visibility corporate projects.
            Although I am juggling a lot at the moment, for the most part I am really enjoying the work and excited about what we are able to achieve.
            Your still my hero Sateesh.

    • Hello Sateesh Jee,

      I am from Lahore, Pakistan. Read about your research on Mulberry and that you liked the Pakistan Mulberry. Hope you and your family enjoy its fruit :)

      Best regards
      Isbah

  4. I love Pakistan Mulberries. I grew up on a street named Mulberry and was always curious about the fruit but never got a chance to taste the berries as a child. Then last year May, I went to a local nursery over here in Southern California and saw Lavender colored mulberries on some small trees they were selling. They were from China the nursery owner told me and I tried a few off the tree and they were pretty tasty. They had a light white peach flavor and were very juicy. As I turned the corner a few steps I saw a few long dark burgundy mulberries hanging from a few other trees nearby. I asked the man what variety was that one and he said Pakistan Mulberry. He told me to try some and I did. They were more rich and sweet in flavor than the Chinese Lavender ones and I fell in love so I bought a few Pakistan Mulberry trees. This morning I saw that my Pakistan Mulberry trees are already starting to burst with new leaves from their buds and small green mulberries are starting to unravel which made me excited to see, but my Chinese Lavender mulberry is not even budding yet. I went back to Mimosa Nursery last week and bought two more potted dwarf Pakistan Mulberry trees and I now have four and one Chinese Lavender. This will be my first Spring and Summer with my Mulberry trees, so with my “new” enthusiasm I did some research and found that Mulberries are high in an antioxidant called Resveratrol which supposedly has some cardiovascular and antiaging benefits. Resveratrol was also featured in an episode of ’60 Minutes’ and also supposedly plays a role in “The French Paradox.” A last neat thing I found was that the Mulberry fruit itself may have even played a role in William Shakespeare writing Romeo and Juliet, being that his story was based on the tragic love story of Pyramus and Thisbe who both died under a Mulberry tree turning the white fruit to it’s dark color. Anyways, can’t wait to have these tasty berries soon.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Agree Ryan, those Pakistan Mulberries are super good.
      Thanks for sharing your awesome stories.
      I esp liked hearing about how the classic Romeo and Juliet story is connected to the mulberry.
      “The French Paradox” angle is cool too.. just another excuse to eat more mulberries.
      Thanks Ryan!

  5. Thanks Tom, and you’re welcome. I too love plants and am fascinated by unique exotic fruits. Another fruit besides the Mulberry that I am intrigued by that I recently bought are my “Ruby Silverberry” plants, or Autumn Olive (Eleagnus Umbellate) plants, which is the common name, although it is not related to the olive. I bought a few plants of my own from Rolling River Nursery online. The Burnt Ridge Nursery website also sells them. This plant shrub is very majestic looking. It has bright Jade green leaves and when you turn the leaves over they shine like silver underneath in the sun, hence the name “Silverberry”. The berries are bright Ruby red and are covered with tiny silver speckles, no joke! It literally looks as if someone has sprinkled silver dust onto the oval shaped red berries. Although I have never tasted them before I read online they taste sweet and tart like a combination of apple and cranberry. The Autumn Olive is also high in Lycopene, (they contain 17 times more than tomatoes!) which helps support prostate health and prevent certain kinds of cancers. The plants also fix nitrogen into the soil allowing them to thrive in just about any type of soil. The variety I bought is called “Ruby”. This variety produces bigger berries than the other varieties and produces in abundance and is good for culinary use. I can’t wait to try them.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thanks, Ryan. It sounds like we both get excited about uncommon and unusual fruit trees.

      The Autumn Olive does sound like a gem of a plant; cool looking berries, drought tolerant and nitrogen fixing roots sound like the makings of a sure winner.
      Unfortunately, it seems that those same qualities have made Elaeagnus Umbellata an invasive plant.
      Bummer.

      However, most of the invasive references for this plant that I have found are for the East Coast and Canada.
      I have not yet seen that it has been listed as invasive in California.
      That being said, a related plant (Russian Olive, Elaeagnus angustifolia) is listed as invasive in California.

      Cool looking plant though.

      Thanks,
      Tom

  6. Sorry for the detailed explanation of CIO/CTO. It means so much to a practitioner in the field. It is like calling a Dr. MD, a Dentist or a Chiropractor LOL!!
    Anyway, now that I have got to know and trust you Tom, I have a puzzle for you. I planted an Improved Meyer lemon tree which in its first year produced beautiful thin skinned, seedless lemons but the following year, the lemons were small and bitter. It is right next to a Eureka lemon which is thriving and I water them both. So why are the lemons bitter all of a sudden? Maybe I’ll just enjoy the ornamental value of the Meyer lemons or sell them to Schweppes Bitter Lemon. LOL!!

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Good puzzle Sateesh.
      I have a few ideas why your Meyer lemon may not be giving you want you want.
      However, I am just guessing at this point. More info and or a few pics would help.

      So going out on a limb (without further info) here are a few thoughts.

      -It could be too early to pick the fruit based on your particular microclimate.

      -The warm weather could have pushed the fruit to turn color before they are actually ripe.

      -The tree could be recovering from a bumper crop last year. I have noticed that my Meyer lemon trees tend toward alternate bearing.

      -The fruit you arer seeing could actually be coming from a ‘sucker’ branch of the root stock. Most root stock is related to lemon and do produce fruit if you let them.

      -The tree could be sick. Check for aphids and the like under the leaves.

      -The tree could be hungry. Are the leaves yellow or mottled?

      -Is the tree not getting enough light. Has another tree grown up and shaded the Meyer?

      -Are the dreaded gophers up to no good?

      • Thanks for the guide Tom. I will send you photos from which you will see that the tree is absolutely covered in yellow lemons but they are little bigger than golf balls. They taste bitter and quite juicy; but the insides look GREEN. Maybe that’s a clue that they are still unripe. So now I have let them ripen till they fall off. No suckers in evidence.No sign of Aphids and I have given the tree tons of high nitrogen fertilizer and Ammonia Sulphate. Leaves are lovely shade of rich green. I suspect it is the gophers. I had to dig up a Ornamental Cherry tree which wilted all of a sudden and when I dug it up, I spotted the tell-tale signs of teeth marks at the bottom of the trunk/roots where the gophers had sheared them. Ugh! But the Meyer Lemon tree still lives on and looks the picture of health. Photos en route.

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Hey Sateesh.
          Well, so far it sounds like your Meyer Lemons colored up before they were ripe.
          If so, I suspect that the unusually warm winter we are having may have a lot to do with that.
          I like your idea of waiting till they are ready to fall off.

          And those freaking gophers!
          Perhaps getting rid of your grass will give them less of a reason to stick around.
          A nice green lawn is gopher paradise.

          T

  7. Do you think I could grow a Pakistani mulberry tree in a pot in full sun IN THE HOUSE? I live in Southern California and I’m just in no mood to fight squirrels :). Thanks and best.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Amanda

      Interesting question.
      I have not tried to grow mulberries in pots. I suppose you could do it, but it might be harder to grow mulberries in pots than it is for other trees.
      Mulberry trees have more extensive root systems than other trees that do well in post such as Meyer Lemon trees.
      Therefore, I suspect that they might quickly outgrow their potted home.
      Mulberries also love full sun, so filtered sun through a window may not be the best either.

      So, overall… I would think it would be possible to grow mulberries in pots inside but it would be difficult… and they might not me too happy about it.

      As far as the squirrels; yes, they are a major pain in the butt.
      However, for some reason they have not discovered my mulberry trees yet.
      And fortunately they have not eaten the leaves of any of my trees as another reader has warned.

      I would chalk this up to 5 different reasons:
      1. The squirrels are likely unfamiliar with this fruit and don’t yet know it is an eating option.

      2. I eat the fruit as fast at they are ripe, so there is not much hanging around for them to ‘discover’.. I sometimes pick the fruit just before it is optimally ripe and let it finish ripening in the kitchen. I also pick up fallen fruit around the tree. Overall, the less those critters know, the better.

      3. I trap squirrels as fast as I can and keep the local population in as low as possible (I will write a post about this soon).

      4. I use scare tape on the branches to keep away the birds and it might also be keeping the squirrels at bay.

      5. I don’t have a bird feeder. That is a total squirrel magnet.

      Anyhow,
      Long story short.
      If it was me, I would plant the tree in an exposed part of the yard where squirrels don’t have the cover to feel safe. and then I would follow the above 4 steps.. Most importantly, enjoy the fruit as fast as you can-and don’t share with the critters.

      Best,

      Tom

  8. Thank you so much. Really appreciate your fantastic site. Best, Amanda

  9. Md. Harunur Rashid

    I’m Harun from Bangladesh interested in collecting exotic fruit plant. After going through your information I’ve been fond of this fruit plants. I have a drastic desire to get this fruit plant. Could you help me how I get this fruit plants.

    Thanks a lot

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Harun
      It is great to hear from a fellow fruit tree collector.
      The Pakistan Mulberry tree is wonderful.
      At the moment I am not sure how you could get this tree in Bangladesh.
      Perhaps another reader of this webpage will know.
      Ill give it some thought and get back to you.
      Tom

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