White mulberry

Strings of silk with a golden color

White mulberry originates from China. It is now widely cultivated as food for silkworms or grown as ornamental plant.

Fruits of the white mulberry are edible.

White mulberry is cultivated as food for silkworms, which in turn are used to produce silk. It is therefore classified not only as a fodder crop (to feed the caterpillars) but also as a fiber crop (the silk) even though the plant itself is not directly used to produce fibers.


   Morus alba
   White mulberry
   Witte moerbei
   Morera blanca
   Mûrier blanc
   Weiße Maulbeere
   Gelso bianco



Basic information and facts


The white mulberry originates from China.


Widely distributed in regions with a warm temperate or subtropical climate.

Evergreen or deciduous:

Deciduous, but can be evergreen in tropical climates.




The dark green leaves are used as a fodder for silk worm larvae.


Fruits of white mulberry are edible.

Climate and weather:

Prefers a warm temperate or subtropical climate.



A small tree, 10 to 20 meters tall.

Type of soil:


Growth rate:


Spacing (close range)


Spacing (wide range)



Propagation is by seed or by cuttings.

Insect pests:




Fruit development:



The leaves are harvested by hand picking.


Main use is as a fodder crop to rear silk worm caterpillars for silk production.

Proverbs and Quotes

  • A monkey in silk is a monkey no less.
  • With time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.
  • Silk and velvet put out the kitchen fire.
  • You cannot make a silk purse of a sow’s ear.
  • An ape’s an ape, a varlet’s a varlet, though they be clad in silk and scarlet.
  • He who has daughters to marry, let him give them silk to spin.
  • We are all Adam’s children, but silk makes the difference.
  • A boor remains a boor even if sleeping on silken pillows.
  • He that has not silver in his purse should have silk on his tongue.
  • I have a love-hate relationship with white silk. (Alan Rickman)
  • A superb tenor voice, like a silver trumpet muffled in silk. (Alec Guinness)
  • You cannot make a revolution with silk gloves. (Joseph Stalin)
  • Smooth as silk. (used in ads for Thai Airways)

Did you know that?

  • Thailand has produced silk for over 3000 years.
  • Sericulture (silk farming), is the rearing of silkworms for the production of raw silk.
  • The silk worms take about a month to get big enough to spin a cocoon. The spinning of the cocoon takes 3-5 days.
  • The cocoon is made of one single continuous thread of raw silk, which may be 500 meters or even 1 kilometer long.

Crop categories

Fiber crops
Ornamental plants
Subtropical crops
Temperate crops
Food crops
Forage and fodder crops


Strings of silk with a golden color

Cocoons of the silk worm

Silk worm feeding on mulberry leaves

Silk worm production

Silk moth laying eggs eggs

Mulberry leaves as a fodder for silk worm larvae

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