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Mulberries are fast-growing when young, but soon become slow-growing and rarely grow over 10-15 meters tall. The leaves are simple, often lobed, and ridged. The fruit grows in bunches, 2-3 centimeters long, is red to dark purple in color, edible, and sweet with a good flavor in several species.
The fruit is used in pies, tarts, and wines. The fruit of the Black Mulberry, native to southwest Asia, and the Red Mulberry, native to eastern North America, have the strongest flavor. The fruit of the White Mulberry, an east Asian species, has a very weak flavor.
Mulberries can be grown from seeds, and this is the best idea as seedling-grown trees are generally healthier. However, they are most often planted from large pieces cut from other Mulberry trees, which easily take root.
Mulberry leaves, particularly those of the White Mulberry, Morus alba, are important as food of the silkworm, the cocoon of which is used to make silk. Morus alba is also notable for the rapid release of its pollen, which is launched at over half the speed of sound. "This is the fastest motion yet observed in biology, and approaches the theoretical physical limits for movements in plants."
- Taylor, Philip et al (2006-03-01). "High-speed pollen release in the white mulberry tree, Morus alba L". Sexual Plant Reproduction 19 (1): 19–24. .