I am sure that there will be no house or farmland, near which there would not be a mulberry or morus plant – the long cultivated tree in Turkmenistan, it is loved by the population and very useful in the household. Rapid-growing, drought-resistant and sun plant that requires no special environmental conditions. When grown from seed, it takes a mulberry tree three years to reach maturity and begin bearing fruit.. Moreover, mulberry tree is long-lived deciduous tree and, under favorable conditions, lives up to 200-300 years.
The taxonomy of Morus is complex and disputed, and, its classification is even further complicated by widespread hybridization. Over 200 species names have been published, and although differing sources may cite different selections of accepted names, only 17 are generally cited as being accepted by the vast majority of botanical authorities. Mulberry or morus tree, is also known to different nations as tut, tuta, mulberry, tyutina, tutina.
The mulberry was highly revered in ancient Asian as a sacred tree. Since ancient times, items made of its wood have served as amulets for oriental women. The mulberry tree is known as a “tree of life", able to protect against evil, a symbol of hard work and respect to parents. In China, mulberry personifies the combination of the Yin and Yan principles. It was believed to have magical properties, a useful defence against the evil eye, an ability to withstand lightning in a garden in which it grows. The legend says that Alexander the Great had used to drink the tincture of berries during his victorious campaign in Persia and India.
However, all above this, mulberry leaves are ecologically important as the sole food source of the silkworm, the cocoon of which today is a source of silk, extremely high-quality, beautiful, but very expensive fabric in the world.
From silk threads, Turkmen craftswomen weave a hand-made keteni fabric, which can be added to the list of unique brands of the country. Clothes made from keteni always impress guests; this fabric can be as popular and significant export item as Turkmen handmade carpets. The most expensive carpets, by the way, are also woven from silk. Thanks again to the mulberry tree!
Mulberry is not only food for the silkworm. From time immemorial, dense but light mulberry wood is used to make national string musical instruments. The enchanting sounds of dutar, without which the traditional song art of Bahshi is impossible, are largely born due to the properties of mulberry wood. After all, the body of this musical instrument is cut from mulberry tree. Thus, mulberry tree has made a huge contribution to the development of folk music culture.
The most obvious value of the mulberry tree is its fruits, the number of which is so great that sometimes all the soil under the crown is full with them in a thick layer. One tree can produce up to two or more centners of berries. It is impossible to transport fresh fruits in long distances as they easily crumple. However, in ancient times, dried mulberries were valued as highly as raisins, dried apricots and other well-known local dried fruits. This colorful delicacy would be gladly taken by tourists as a culinary souvenir.
Mulberry fruits contain up to 25% sugar, organic acids, tannins, pectic and coloring agents, flavonoids, carotene, vitamins A, C, B2, B9, B4, PP, E, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper, zinc , rubber. While white mulberries’ leaves are a good source of tannins, coumarins, organic acids, gums, essential oils, and sterols.
Almost all parts of the mulberry tree berries have been used in herbal medicine for thousands of years to treat various illnesses. Fruits have antioxidant properties; the tincture of berries is used as an anti-inflammatory, expectorant, diaphoretic, diuretic. Fresh fruits are useful to treat stomach ulcers, enterocolitis, dysentery, dysbacteriosis, and diseases of the biliary tract. A fruit syrup is beneficial against cardiovascular diseases (myocardiostrophy and heart disease), anemia, and as a hemostatic. Infusion is recommended for gargle and oral cavity at inflammatory diseases. Unripe fruits have astringent and antiseptic properties. The tincture of leaves is prescribed as a tonic, antipyretic, vitamin drug, as well as to reduce blood sugar. Fresh leaf juice can ease toothache, while decoction made from leaves is a good antipyretic. Decoction made from rind beneficial against heart diseases, it is recommended as an expectorant to treat bronchitis, asthma, and also as a diuretic and for hypertension.
I think that I would not be mistaken if I say that for almost everyone born in Turkmenistan, this tree is associated with a carefree childhood. Perhaps each of us has fond memories when the whole of the children of the yard climbed the branches of the local mulberry tree to enjoy berries so juicy that sugar syrup flowed down the hands and faces of children.
Mulberry is often used as an important element of landscape architecture, as ORIENT already wrote about. On the streets of cities, in parks and recreation areas, single and group plantings of the mulberry are used, it is also often planted as hedges. Thanks to the artistic figured cutting of branches, trees in winter also retain their decorativeness.