The Native Mulberry is a non-stinging nettle that produces fruit so delicious, you’ll be competing with the local wildlife. This is a fast-growing species that may be cultivated as a shrub or small tree. In nature, it can be found on the margins of rainforests in south-eastern, subtropical Queensland. Also known as False Stinger, White Nettle.
The fruits of the Native Mulberry are small and white, almost translucent in appearance. Like strawberries, they bear their seeds on the outside. They are soft and juicy, with a sweet and delicate flavour, though like conventional mulberries, can vary in taste and texture.
The fruits are in similar clusters, 4 – 6 mm in diameter, white with dark spots, edible, more-or-less succulent. The dark spots are actually the seeds, which develop on the outside of the fruit as with strawberries. The fruits are eaten as bush tucker (birds permitting): they are sweet, variable in taste, and contain many small seeds.
The leaves, roots and sap have recorded usage in traditional medicine, while the bark was used by islanders and aborigines in cloth making, for cordage, and for fishing lines. These last were made from the inner bark. On some islands the leaves were used as fishing lures, and in the Marshall Islands branches were placed under rocks in the sea, and were believed at attract live cowries.
Flowering typically occurs from January to June, with fruit ripening between May and July. Simply pluck the berries off the branch — though you may find the riper berries too soft to harvest easily.
Native Mulberry trees are dioecious, meaning they may be male or female. They prefer warm climates, full sun and soils with good drainage.
Younger plants have been known to look somewhat leggy, but with clever pruning and care, a mature Native Mulberry fills out nicely, reaching heights of 3-8m even in a home garden. In fact, if a native edible hedge is what you are after, look no further.
This species is a welcoming host for Jezebel Nymph, White Nymph, Speckled Line-Blue, Yellow Admiral, Blue Moon and other attractive butterfly species.
Form: Shrub or Small Tree to 8 Metres High
Aspect: Full Sun
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