black mulberry

[English] plural black mulberries

The black mulberry is a native of north Persia and the Caucasus. It was brought at a very early period to Greece. Theophrastus was acquainted with it and called it “sukamnos”. It is only at a late period that this tree, brought by Lucius Vitellus from Syria to Rome, was successfully reared in Italy, after all earlier experiments, according to Pliny, had been conducted in vain. At the time of Palladius and even in that of Athaneus, the mulberry tree had multiplied but little. The introduction of silk culture under Justinian gave a new importance to this tree, and, from that time to the present, its propagation has taken place very rapidly. It was not till the 16th Century that this plant was superceded by the white variety for the feeding of silk worms. This species, according to Mueller, was planted in France in 1500. In the United States, it is scarcely hardy north of New York, but there and southward it is occasionally cultivated for its fruit. With thanks to David Lyne-Gordon.

Synonyms in other languages

Latin names