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Morus mesozygia - Stapf

Common Name African mulberry
Family Moraceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards Sawdust from the wood may cause dermatitis and irritation to the nose and throat[299 ].
Habitats Rain-forest, forests of drier regions; semi-deciduous forests, gallery, forests bordering savannahs; often along streams or lakes; also in secondary forests or as solitary trees after clearing; coastal evergreen forests; elevations up to 1,650 metres[328 ]
Range Tropical Africa - Senegal to Sudan and Ethiopia, south to Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Morus mesozygia African mulberry

Morus mesozygia African mulberry
Robert S Copeland


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Morus mesozygia or commonly known as African Mulberry is a usually 15 m high tropical tree that can be found in inland evergreen forests in South Africa. The crown is umbrella-shaped and spreads up to 25 m. The trunk is straight, light brown, white banded, and up to 70 cm in diameter. The leaves are dark green, oval, smooth, and thin. The flowers are small and yellow. The fruits are small, round, and edible. All plant parts have medicinal uses particularly as treatment for a wide rage of conditions such as lumbago, rheumatism, neuralgia, colic, stiffness, debility, diarrhea, dysentery, and syphilis. Propagation method of African mulberry is by cuttings. The tree is also planted as shade tree in plantations. The bark can be made into cloth and sandals. The latex from the bark is used as a rubber adulterant. The wood is used as fuel and for making charcoal. It is also used for high-class furniture, agricultural implements, toys, carvings, boxes, poles, etc.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Morus mesozygia is a deciduous Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 30 m (98ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Celtis lactea Sim Morus lactea (Sim) Mildbr.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

The infructescense is edible and tastes like white grapes[299 ]. The infructescence is up to 1cm in diameter[308 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antidiarrhoeal  Antirheumatic  Aphrodisiac  Dysentery

In African traditional medicine all plant parts are used in decoctions, baths, massages and enemas as treatments against conditions such as rheumatism, lumbago, intercostal pain, neuralgia, colic, stiffness, debility, diarrhoea and dysentery[299 ]. The root is used as an aphrodisiac[299 ]. Sap from young shoots is dropped into the nose for the treatment of syphilis[299 ]. The heartwood contains the flavonoids morin, dihydromorin and pinobanksin, the leaves a glycoside of morin. Resistance of the wood to the woodrot fungi Coriolus versicolor, Lentinus squarrosul us and Poria species is related to the presence of dihydromorin[299 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Charcoal  Containers  Fencing  Fibre  Fuel  Furniture  Latex  Pioneer  Roofing  Soil stabilization  Weaving  Wood

Agroforestry Uses: Planted as a shade tree in coffee, cocoa and banana plantations[299 ]. A pioneer species in the wild, germinating in open, sunny places and helping to restore conditions suitable for mature primary forest[299 ]. Under natural conditions, seedlings are most common in very exposed sites, such as large forest gaps with substantial soil erosion[299 ]. Because it is also fast-growing and is a popular, multi-purpose tree, it really sounds like a very good species for restoring native woodland and also for establishing woodland gardens[K ]. Other Uses: The fibrous bark has been made into cloth and sandals[299 ]. The latex has been used as a rubber adulterant[299 ]. The heartwood is yellow when freshly cut, darkening to brown on exposure; it is distinctly demarcated from the 5 - 10cm wide band of grey to white sapwood. The texture is fine to medium; the grain is straight to interlock with a mottled or ribbon-like figure; lustre is moderate. The wood is moderately heavy to heavy; strong; hard to very hard but somewhat brittle. There are conflicting reports on durability, it is normally said to be very durable, but there are also reports that it is vulnerable to attacks by fungi, pinhole borers, marine borers, longhorn borers and termites. The air drying characteristics are satisfactory, once dry, the wood is stable in service. It works moderately easily with most hand and machine tools, but with some blunting of cutting edges; it saws well, but stellite-tipped sawteeth are recommended; in planing interlocked grain may cause trouble, and quartersawn surfaces should be planed at a reduced angle (15°) to avoid picking up; pre boring is recommended for nailing; the nail and screw holding properties are good; it glues well and takes a good finish. Slicing properties are good, but peeling properties are poor. The wood is especially suitable for sliced veneer, high-class furniture, flooring, staircases, joinery and turnery, but also for interior trim, sporting goods, agricultural implements, toys, novelties, carvings, boxes, crates, vats, posts, poles, piles, mine props and shingles. In Ghana, it is used for construction, furniture, joinery, mortars and pestles. In DR Congo it is traditionally used for dug-out canoes. Stems from coppiced trees are used as walking sticks, ramrods for guns and palisades[299 , 848 ]. The wood is used as fuelwood and for charcoal making[299 ].

Special Uses

Coppice  Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Requires a well-drained soil[299 ]. Growth is usually fast: a height increment of almost 2 metres in the first year has been recorded in unshaded nursery beds[299 ]. A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required[299 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best results come from sowing freshly harvested seed[299 ]. Pre-treatment is not necessary, but germination is accelerated by soaking the seeds in water for 12 hours. Sow in a sunny position in a nursery seedbed or in individual containers. Germination starts 5 - 12 days after sowing[299 ]. Cuttings.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

African mulberry, Liguncumence, Tongaland mulberry, Wonton, Ossel, Olape, Kesse, Difou, Ewe aiye, Bonde, Ochik, Mududula, Nula, Po-di-bitcho-branco, Nepone,

Malawi; Mozambique; Zambia; Senegal; Guinea-Bissau; Guinea; Sierra Leone; Liberia; Côte d'Ivoire; Ghana; Benin; Togo; Nigeria; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Ethiopia; Uganda; Kenya; Tanzania, United Republic of; Angola; South Sudan, Africa, Angola, Cabinda, Cameroon, Central Africa, CAR, Central African Republic, Congo, Congo DR, Côte d'Ivoire, East Africa, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinée, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Southern Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, West Africa,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Morus albaWhite Mulberry, Common Mulberry,Tree18.0 4-10 MLMHSNM434
Morus alba multicaulisWhite MulberryTree18.0 4-8  LMHSNM432
Morus australisKorean Mulberry, Aino MulberryTree7.5 6-9 FLMHSNM221
Morus bombycisKuwaTree8.0 5-9  LMHSNM221
Morus cathayanaHua SangTree15.0 5-9  LMHSNM20 
Morus macrouraHimalayan MulberryTree10.0 7-10  LMHSNM212
Morus microphyllaTexas MulberryTree6.0 5-9  LMHSNM202
Morus mongolicaMongolian MulberryTree7.5 4-8  LMHSNM212
Morus nigraBlack MulberryTree10.0 5-10 SLMHSNM533
Morus rubraRed Mulberry, Common Mulberry, White MulberryTree15.0 4-9  LMHSNM322
Morus serrataHimalayan MulberryTree20.0 -  LMHSNM212
Morus speciesMulberryTree10.0 0-0 MLMHSNM404
Rubus chamaemorusCloudberryPerennial0.3 2-4  LMHNMWe412

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References

Links / References

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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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