Mulberry Tree Symbolism Facts & Meaning: Zodiac, Superstitions, Dreams, and Myths
Mulberry Tree Facts
Mulberry Trees are under the genus Morus which belongs to the Moraceae family, known as Mulberry or fig family. The most known Mulberry species are the white, red, and black Mulberry Tree species, named after the respective color of their Mulberry fruits.
Mulberry Trees are deciduous trees with a varying lifespan that can range between 25 and 100 years. The trees thrive in direct sunlight in moist well-drained soil or near streams. They are fast-growing trees and can reach a varying height between 30 to 80 feet tall and have oval-lobed and serrated leaves.
The pale green or cream-colored flowers of the Mulberry Trees are grown on catskins in lined clusters. Mulberry Trees can be monoecious (grow both male and female flowers) and dioecious (grow only male or female flowers).
The flowers self-pollinate through the wind with some Mulberry species bearing fruit without pollination. This makes planting Mulberry Trees in urban areas not ideal as their plentiful pollen can activate allergies.
Mulberry Trees bear fruits after 10 years. The fruits look like elongated blackberries and can come in black, purple, pink, white, or red depending on the Mulberry species. Unripe fruits are pale in color. A single Mulberry fruit is actually composed of multiple smaller fruits with individual seeds.
The Mulberry fruit possesses a rich sweet and tart flavor and is well-known around the world since ancient times. The ancient Greeks dedicated the Mulberry fruits to the goddess Athena.
All parts of the Mulberry Tree except its ripe fruits are toxic. Unripe Mulberry fruit can cause unwanted reactions like nausea, cramps, and hallucinations.
Mulberry Tree Uses
The leaves of the Mulberry Tree, specifically the white Mulberry, are vital in the creation of silk as they are the main source of food for the silk-producing silk worms or Bombyx Mori.
Parts of the Mulberry Tree have been used by ancient civilizations in traditional medicine. The Ancient Romans treat diseases of the mouth, lungs, and trachea using the leaves of the white Mulberry Tree. Native Americans also use Mulberry fruits as laxatives and to cure dysentery. The roots were also used to eliminate tapeworms.
Mulberry fruits are quite nutritious. It is a rich source of Vitamins A, C, E, and K. It is also packed with beneficial minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and iron.
Consuming Mulberry fruits as is or as dietary supplements are used to improve health, namely digestive health, regulating blood sugar level and blood pressure, and lowering cholesterol levels. The fruits also come with other health benefits such as strengthening the immune system and improving blood circulation.
Mulberries are commonly used in the culinary world. The fruits can be eaten raw but are also used in pies, wines, syrup, jams, herbal teas, and tarts all around the world. The Mulberry fruits are also used to extract natural food colorants.
The bark of the Mulberry Trees was used by Buddhist monks during the time of the Khmer Empire to make paper for book manuscripts called Kraing. The stems of the tree are also used in Japan to make Tengoju, the thinnest paper in the world.
The lightweight wood of the Mulberry Trees is also used to make barrels, fences, and baskets. Lastly, nonfruit Mulberry Tree varieties are used for their ornamental value.
Mulberry Tree History
Mulberry Trees can be found worldwide with different species being native to different regions. White Mulberry Trees were first documented to grow in China, black Mulberry Trees are native to West Asia and the Middle East, and red Mulberry Trees are endemic to East and Central America.
The very first documentation of Mulberry Trees was in ancient China as they were used to produce silk since Neolithic times. Many ancient civilizations have been cultivating Mulberry Trees for their fruit and other uses. The silk-making industry increased the cultivation of Mulberry Trees in different parts of the world.
The Romans introduced the Mulberry Trees to Britain for their medicinal uses. King Henry VIII was said to have Mulberry Trees planted on his estate in Chelsea. Reportedly, King James I have thousands of black Mulberry Trees planted to start silk production in Britain. This, however, failed because silkworms preferred the white Mulberry Tree species.
The white Mulberry Trees were introduced to the USA in 1733 when British General Oglethorpe wanted to encourage silk production in the then-British colony Georgia.
In 1774, white and black Mulberry Trees were first commercially sold in the states by Prince’s Nursery. George Washington reportedly bought fruit from the nursery. Thomas Jefferson also had Mulberry Trees planted on his estate in Virginia.
Mulberry Tree Positive Symbolism
Because of the many important uses, especially its fruit and in the silk industry, Mulberry Trees positively symbolize abundance. They are also symbols of wisdom and patience as they seemingly wait the quickly bear fruit right when the frost is gone.
Mulberry Tree Negative Symbolism
In Christianity, non-fruit varieties of Mulberry Trees are symbols of death and evil. Mulberry Trees during Jesus’s time were used as coffins as they grow abundant, large, and resistant to decay.
Mulberry Tree Cultural Symbolism
Many cultures have given different symbols and meanings to the Mulberry Tree throughout the years.
The Greeks viewed the trees as a sign of wisdom and red Mulberry fruits for star-crossed lovers. The Chinese depict the Mulberry Tree to be a divine tree as it is said to link heaven and earth. In Japan, Mulberry Trees are symbols of self-sacrifice and support where they are used as offerings in shrines with the leaves as food for silkworms.
Mulberry Tree Zodiac Sign
Mulberry Trees are associated with the zodiac sign Sagittarius. Like the abundant uses of Mulberry Trees, Sagittarius is optimistic and compassionate to those around them. They can also provide hard truths and loyalty that benefit the people they love.
Mulberry Tree in Dreams
There can be several meanings for Mulberry Trees in dreams, depending on the dreamer’s situation. A few examples include, dreaming of a Mulberry Tree can mean an exciting change in living situations, and dreaming of eating Mulberry can mean success is coming, be it in work or in relationships.
Mulberry Tree Omens and Superstitions
In feng shui belief, Mulberry Trees are not to be planted in front of the house as this can signify the death and mourning of a loved one.
Mulberry Tree Mythology and Folklore
In Chinese mythology, Emperor Huangdi made the first bow in a Mulberry Tree which is used to defeat a tiger. A related Chinese myth is that the emperor’s wife, empress Leizu discovered how to produce silk when a silkworm cocoon fell into her warm tea and unraveled into fine silk. After this, she convinced her husband to plant groves of Mulberry Trees.