Young leaves and shoots - cooked. A famine food, it is only used when all else fails. A good vegetable, it is rich in carotene and calcium. The leaf also contains 10% tannin. Inner bark - roasted and ground into a meal then used as a thickener in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread. A famine food when all else fails. The tree is said to be a source of an edible manna.Young shoots can be used as a tea substitute.
Analgesic, emollient, sedative. The leaves are antibacterial, astringent, diaphoretic, hypoglycaemic, odontalgic and ophthalmic. They are taken internally in the treatment of colds, influenza, eye infections and nosebleeds. The leaves are collected after the first frosts of autumn and can be used fresh but are generally dried. The stems are antirheumatic, diuretic, hypotensive and pectoral. A tincture of the bark is used to relieve toothache. The branches are harvested in late spring or early summer and are dried for later use. The fruit has a tonic effect on kidney energy. It is used in the treatment of urinary incontinence, tinnitus, premature greying of the hair and constipation in the elderly. The root bark is antitussive, diuretic, expectorant and hypotensive. It is used internally in the treatment of asthma, coughs, bronchitis, oedema, hypertension and diabetes. The roots are harvested in the winter and dried for later use.Extracts of the plant have antibacterial and fungicidal activity.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 - 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Plant out in spring. A good percentage take, though they sometimes fail to thrive. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, 25 - 30cm with a heel of 2 year old wood, autumn or early spring in a cold frame or a shady bed outside. Bury the cuttings to threequarters of their depth.Layering in autumn.
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This variety of M. alba is said to have superior fruits. According to many botanists it is no more than a clone of the species. This is the form most commonly cultivated in India, where it is fast growing and adapted to field culture. It gives a high yield of large, tender, thick leaves. Mulberries have brittle roots and so need to be handled with care when planting them out. Any pruning should only be carried out in the winter when the plant is fully dormant because mulberries bleed badly when cut. Ideally prune only badly placed branches and dead wood. A good tree for growing grapes into. The grapes are difficult to pick but always seem to be healthier and free from fungal diseases.Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
Problems, pests & diseases
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