The Mulberry tree: a stylish architectural tree to some, a symbol of nature, faith and growth to others. Whichever way it’s viewed, the Mulberry is far more than a simple fruiting tree!
Many gardeners love the look of the Mulberry tree, but with many varieties’ fast-growing attributes and mature height of around 80ft tall, it’s just impractical for smaller gardens. That is, unless you choose a dwarf variety.
Enter the Mojo Berry! This dwarf variety will give you all the joy of a regular Mulberry, without the enormous size – plus, a few delicious extras! Read on to satisfy your eyes (and taste buds).
The Mojo Berry – THE variety for small gardens
Bred by 90-year-old Japanese breeder Mr Hajime Matsunaga, the Mojo Berry (Dwarf Mulberry) took over 40 years to develop. The tree was developed as a dwarf from an original variety, which was around four metres in height. Matsunga managed to breed the tree to the point where the Mojo Berry (also known as ‘Charlotte Russe’) grows to no more than one-and-a-half metres in height, and one metre wide.
Could this be the perfect tree for small gardens, including patios and terraces? Most certainly. Its compact frame means that you can have the pleasure of growing a full and fabulous Mulberry in your garden, while not worrying that it’ll become a nuisance due to its size.
RHS Chelsea Flower Show ‘Plant of the Year’
Don’t just take my word for it – the Mojo Berry is so spectacular that it caught the eye of judges at the 2017 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, winning the prestigious ‘Plant of the Year’ award under its pseudonym “Charlotte Russe”. Picked from a shortlist of 20 outstanding plants, this tree fought off fierce competition to win first prize. It was selected due to its attractive appearance, compact size, and its incredible fruiting power…
Mulberry fruits all round!
Usually, you have to wait around eight years for a Mulberry tree to fruit. With the Mojo Berry, a young plant will produce repeated flushes of fruit from June to September! Enjoy these juicy berries year on year as a nutritious, sweet snack, or in your cooking as you would with any other berry.
Uses for mulberries
There are many uses for this delicious, seedless, soft summer fruit! Although they’re not as common in supermarkets or greengrocers as other berries (despite being a much-loved fruit throughout British history, especially in London), as they’re just toooo delicate, mulberries are just as delicious and full of vitamins! Here are a few uses for this fruit:
- Mulberries can be used in place of any recipe which calls for raspberries or blackberries.
- Flavour the icing for your Tottenham cake (which was originally made with mulberries picked fresh from just outside the bakery!)
- Steep them in gin for a drink with a summer twist!
- Use them as a main ingredient for a refreshing sorbet.
- Collect a large harvest of mulberries to use in jams for use at home or as gifts for friends.
- Love crumble? Mulberry crumble is fantastic with homemade custard or cream!
Mulberry tree folklore
The Mulberry tree has been found all over the world, despite being native to South Asia. Because of this, many civilisations and cultures have their own folklore and symbolism surrounding the tree, some of which span centuries!
The Mulberry tree in Britain
There is evidence that the Mulberry tree was brought over to England by the Romans, and that trees may have been growing in London since the 5th century BC. In Elizabethan times, Mulberry trees were grown by nobility and landed gentry to ‘show up’ their neighbours, and mulberries were often served at dinner with the intention of impressing.
However, Britain’s most well-known association with the Mulberry tree comes from the nursery rhyme, ‘Here we go round the Mulberry bush’. The rhyme, first recorded in the 19th century, was sung by children while holding hands in a circle and moving around.
In Greek mythology
The Mulberry tree is dedicated to the Athena, who is the Greek goddess of wisdom, handicraft and warfare. Mulberries are widespread in Greece, particularly in the Peloponnese, which in the Middle Ages was known as Morea, which comes from the Greek word for ‘tree’.
In Chinese symbolism
In China, the Sun is often represented by a three-legged Sun Bird, which sits atop a Mulberry tree. This is because the Mulberry is associated with where the sun rises each day.
Where to buy your Mojo Berry
The Mojo Berry (“Charlotte Russe”)was introduced into the UK by Suttons in spring 2017, and the first batch of 2,500 plants sold out in only a week. Think one would be perfect for your garden? You can purchase this tree here!
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.