Purple reign



Hopefully, you both are correct: My nigra will need all the help it can get, trying to grow in Florida. At least for this year I will be able to find out what all the fuss is about, as for tomorrow probably, I will have tasted my first nigra.

I am saddened to hear that Chriso’s nigra (in Miami, Florida) has failed (so far) to come out of hibernation and may point to its demise. I have used an ethylene compound in the past to induce budding on fruit trees that lacked sufficient chill hours (I’ve reached a point in my gardening practices now to just stick with what grows well here). But I don’t believe nigras need a certain amount of chill hours???


no doubt, your success with this species is a good reference point for out of zoners :slight_smile:


Raf…I don’t want to give the forum readers false hope: I have only kept the plant alive for less than six months! I have been searching for other possible nigra sightings here in the Southeast, but so far I haven’t come across any healthy fruit-bearing nigras. I have asked nurseries that sell nigras to give me names and addresses of people they have shipped to in the Southeast, but I guess that information is more protected than HIPAA laws require. On my website (growingmulberry.org) I have asked for someone to come forward and prove me wrong…but, sadly, so far no takers.


you’re right, and i admit being too optimistic.
Should re-write it as " your success/setbacks/failure would be a valuable reference point for other out-of-zoners"


Do not lose hope! One of my seedling just start to swelling buds. And another one still sleep, but his cambium is green. You can make several cuts and look at the cambium color.


Thank you Pileta. I need all the encouragement I can get…Cambium is definitely green. I will keep hoping. One thing I learned over the past decade of growing fruit trees is that one has to be patient, and patience is the one thing money can’t buy…


I’ve not had the opportunity to sample true M.nigra fruits… but my wife has, and despite everything I told her about ‘experts’ saying that M.nigra will not work here, I’ve ordered and planted three for her this spring. We’ll see about that…

I am, however, somewhat surprised at the lack of love for our native M.rubra. I’ve never had a bad rubra fruit… but most straight albas I’ve tasted are just…meh; a little bit of sweet, not much flavor.

Diff’rent strokes, I guess.


Please keep us updated on their health and vigor. Many in the forum undoubtedly would want to know.

I agree with you…And I am surprised how few nurseries sell rubra plants. Nurseries do sell the rubra hybrids though, such as Illinois Everbearing and Silk Hope…which, now having tasted nigra fruit, are maybe lacking the punch of nigra (I’m assuming due to the acidity) but are right up there with the flavor (almost).


your project is something to look forward to, as @Livinginawe mentioned.
keep us posted!

nigras will test your patience if you’re out of zone, even when in the more hospitable zones, nigras tend to be laggards! Our nigra berries borne by young specimens would reach pink-stage, but would all succumb to fruit-drop before they turned purple. Some took 4 years before the rate of fruit-drop diminished.
these were grafted specimens using mature budwood, so quite likely that growing from seed may take much longer(but hopefully not!)


I actually ate my first M. nigra berry today. It was very small and looked a bit dry :flushed: ??? It might have needed a day or two longer but I was “a skeert that a varmit might git it” :grin:. It was like a sweet blackberry…well more like a dewberry without that blackberry aftertaste. I don’t think I was necessarily blown away by the flavor but I definitely could have eaten a lot more of them…and bigger to get a bigger taste. So I’m excited that my tree produced berries and at least one that ripened and there are several more at the pinkish stages still on the ‘shrub’. (And it does quite look like a shrub). It’s putting out a new growth spurt–so far so good.



congrats on getting it to ripen. And yes, it is a bit on the tiny side which may not have made it a prime sample.
btw, you are right about it being a sweet blackberry and without the seeds and without the aftertaste/slight astringency, so possible you’ve tasted it close to prime, if not for your comment about it being dry, which is not the case for nigras which will easily burst when picked prime, often squirting red-purple juice all over one’s fingers…


Going back to my M. nigra extended dormancy issue, has anyone tried the instructions below:
"If they survive the winter, another common problem is extended dormancy. Mulberries put their tasty leaves out tentatively, and drop them at the first sign of frost. They spend much of their time in a dormant state - and sometimes they do not wake up. This is a fairly common problem - affecting perhaps 20% of seedlings. I lost my very first mulberry seeding after two and a half years due to this problem.
There is often a solution: brutal surgery. If a mulberry is still dormant by the start of summer it will probably stay that way permanently - if left to its own devices. Fortunately, dormant mulberry seedlings can often it can be brought back to life - by chopping off their top along with any existing leaves. The cut should be made above the most promising-looking bud. Cutting close to the ground is OK.

Such surgery apparently sends the plant into an emergency state - where it heavily prioritises putting out new foliage. It often seems to be enough of a shock to wake up a dormant plant."
This is an excerpt from the website:

Any thoughts?? At this point, I’m panicking that some of my seedlings and my 5’ grafted M. nigras are in for a summer slumber.


an intriguing approach. Moreover, the fact that it mentions of trees being very slow-growing, it is enough proof that the link was likely pertaining to nigras.

have not observed the phenomenon on mulbs, although have had grafts which never leafed out and thought was dead but leafed out on second year.

have also observed in jujubes(which are close cousins of the mulb family in the order rosales) that lateral stems with thick fruiting spurs grafted on to vigorous rootstoc will sometimes result in runty growth, and when several segments of fruiting spurs are removed, the remaining node/s tend to develop vigorous upright growth.


Omg!!! Soooo much better this time. Still very small but really great flavor!



safe to say you have a prime nigra berry there! That juice is the sweetest red wine of all(sans the alcohol), and the natural tart makes the experience even more interesting.


It WAS good!! One berry went missing and this one was perfect ready. Another was almost ready and I ate that one too because of the one that got nicked…lol. There’s about four or five left that are pink. Unbelievable that I was sent that beautiful nigra that fruited so quickly! Now if it just survives…


exactly. I am pessimistic about it surviving not because i have tried growing it there and failed, but simply due to the fact that no one from texas mentions having tried growing it(apart from you!) And if you google “morus nigra trees texas”, you’d only see vague descriptions but no actual pictures, and if there might be pictures, the purported black mulberry trees are actually just albas or rubras.

Conversely, i am also quite optimistic because of the following statements posted below. Scotland should not be colder and damper than dfw area right? And evidently dfw has more sunny days and longer growing seasons… That morus nigras are still fruitful in england and considering they were planted in the 1600’s — that should be enough proof of their hardiness in dfw!

it may have been a deliberate choice by James, as the black mulberry will grow readily in Britain’s cool, damp weather - even in Scotland

A veteran mulberry at Charlton House is likely to have been planted around the same time (somewhere between 1607-1612). A black mulberry in the Queen’s Orchard (Greenwich Park) is about the same age. And there are black mulberries in Cheyne Walk, on the site of Henry VIII’s Manor House that could be 16th century.

says the veritable website below


Yes, I’ve read this and my own husband tells me of mulberry trees he has seen growing in England—“great, knarly trees” in his words. But I have also read a blog in which some people in Dallas ordered some nigras but never reported back about them. Did the blog go away or did the mulbs? I guess we will see.


your hubby’s first-hand accounts of weather conditions and true nigras being gnarly are promising indicators!

could also be that those bloggers received albas, and were too disappointed to even follow up on their respective blogs. Even in this forum, you’d see many members complaining about mulberries, saying mulbs are nothing more than weedy pests, and i can’t blame them, since evidently they’ve never tasted a true black mulberry, and if they have actually bought one, they probably received impostors, which grew fast and became weedy pests which produced lackluster fruits(whereas nigras grow really slow, and produce superb fruits)…

thus the tendency to denigrate mulbs for not being nigras.

needless to say, your blog is the first one have come across where the specimen is authentic nigra. And surely, the provenance which spanned two growing seasons, of finally getting the real mccoy after receiving a faux nigra was just as eventful as getting the real mccoy to fruit! Has been a bit of a journey, no doubt… Burntridge did you good by sending an old specimen, so despite the delay with the faux nigra you received last year, your overall waiting time was less than what others generally have to endure, myself included :wink:


Scotland weather bears no resemblance to DFW weather. Scotland is like a cold Seattle but seldom falling below 10-20F. Ave highs temperatures in Scotland are about 41F winter and 60F summer. Dallas on the other hand is about 60F winter and 95F summer. So Dallas winters are more like Scotland summers but Scotland might be a warmer USDA zone.

Scotland and DFW are about as similar weather wise as Vegas and Juneau. OK not quite as different.

Texas is hard on plants. The USDA zones should be dropped by 1 zone because of wildly fluctuating temperatures.