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Morus mesozygia (African mulberry, Tongaland mulberry)

Afrika-moerbei [Afrikaans]; umDuli [Zulu]

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid I > Order: Rosales > Family: Moraceae > Genus: Morus

Morus mesozygia (African mulberry, Tongaland mulberry)
Morus mesozygia (African mulberry, Tongaland mulberry)

Morus mesozygia, Moribane Forest, Mozambique. [photo Stefaan Dondeyne , Flora of Mozambique]

Identification

  • Grows into a large tree, up to 20-30 m in height.
  • Leaves are alternate, simple, ovate, with serrated margin and distinctly 3-veined at base. Look similar to those of cultivated mulberries but are larger.
  • Bark is light grey to brown, mottled and with fissures.
  • The creamy-white to yellowish flowers are unisexual - some trees have both sexes of flowers, others have only one sex present.
  • Fruit are similar-looking to those of the cultivated mulberry, but smaller.

Distribution and habitat

A tropical African species that within southern Africa is native to Mozambique and northern KwaZulu-Natal. It occurs as a canopy tree in coastal and inland forests.

Ecological interactions

No records that are specific to this species, other than that the fruit are eaten by birds (Palmer & Pitman 1972).

See under Morus for general ecological interactions for the genus - these probably apply mainly to domesticated mulberries.

Uses

  • The fruit are eaten.
  • The wood is hard and regarded as good-looking with light-coloured sapwood and darker yellow-brown heartwood. No information on how, and to what extent, it is used by people.

References

  • Palgrave, K.C. and Palgrave, M.C. 2002. Trees of Southern Africa. 3rd Edition. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
  • Palmer, E. and Pitman, N. 1972. Trees of Southern Africa covering all known indigenous species in the Republic of South Africa, South-West Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. Volume 1. A.A. Balkema, Cape Town.

Text by Hamish Robertson