Botanical name : Morus alba L.
Common names (Hindi) : Shahtut, tut, tutri, chinni
Family Name : Moraceae

Plate 14.1 Morus alba tree

A full grown M. alba is a moderate sized tree with short clean bole and spreading crown. The bark is smooth in young and rough in old trees. It is a short lived tree and the trunk starts becoming hollow in old trees.


  • Morus alba grows in areas with subtropical or mild temperature climate. Maximum shade temperature seldom exceeds 430C while the minimum temperature may drop below freezing point for a few days in January; the absolute maximum shade temperature touches even 480C in some areas of its cultivation.
  • For optimum growth, adequate water supply, particularly during the growing period, is essential. The annual rainfall varies from about 400 mm to 4500 mm and most of it is received during monsoon season.
  • In areas with less than about 1200 mm annual rainfall, irrigation is necessary for its good growth.
  • Morus alba is cultivated in Northern India from Jammu and Kashmir to Assam. In the Himalayas, it ascends up to an elevation of about 1200 m.
  • In the hills, it is mostly confined to stream beds or such other places where sufficient moisture is available for its growth.
  • It does not grow on dry slopes or shallow soils where moisture becomes the limiting factor.
  • Morus alba grows on a variety of soils ranging from sandy loam to clayey loam,
  • Alluvial, deep, loamy soil with sufficient moisture supply supports its best growth.
  • The tree cannot tolerate alkalinity and grows best on soils with pH ranging between 6.0 and 7.5.
  • In hills, moisture availability limits the growth and on dry slopes, the trees remain stunted.
  • Leaf-fall - November - December
  • Leaf renewal - March - April
  • Flowering - March -April
  • Fruit ripe - April-June
  • The fruits are white or red and sweet in taste.
  • Trees of about five years age start producing viable seed.
Silvicultural characteristics
  • M. alba is a shade bearing tree and it can with advantage be grown as an under-storey with other light demanding species.
  • It coppices and pollards very well.
  • The coppicing power of trees bigger than 30 cm diameter is generally poor.
  • It can withstand light frost.
  • Its water requirement is high
  • It suffers from droughts as may be expected from its being a surface feeder.
  • It is susceptible to fire and browsing.
Natural Reproduction
  • M. alba regenerates either through seed or coppice.
  • The seed is dispersed either by water or by birds.
  • Such seed as it gets lodged at suitable places, germinates readily.
  • For germination, the seed requires moist and well drained soil.
  • Light shade is favourable for germination and seedling establishment,
  • Thick shade is harmful.
  • The seedlings can establish under canopy of trees having light crowns.
Factors considered favourable for seedling establishment are
  • Adequate shade,
  • Soil free from tall and thick weeds,
  • Adequate soil moisture,
  • Soil should be free from salinity,
  • Protection against browsing animals,
  • M. alba tends to be aggressive in irrigated plantation areas,
  • The tree coppices well and can be regenerated through coppice.
Last modified: Tuesday, 22 May 2012, 8:26 AM