‘Even mail order customers get mulberry plants with fruit’

Morus ‘Matsunaga’ Charlotte Russe - photo: Plantipp

Morus ‘Matsunaga’ Charlotte Russe – photo: Plantipp

Morus rotundiloba ‘Matsunaga’ Charlotte Russe, a patio mulberry developed in Japan has won this year’s Chelsea Plant of the Year (UK) award [read more]. Plantsman Graham Rice added to the text of the official press release from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) on the site of this UK garden charity some interesting information about the breeding process . “Forty years ago a Japanese plant breeder, Hajime Matsunaga, resolved to develop a new mulberry that would fruit when the plants were still very young, would develop fruits over a long season, would produce fruits without another variety as pollinator, and would be happy in a patio container without any special care. The flavour, of course, had to be good too.” Rice noted that instead of working with the two most familiar species, Matsunaga chose to develop Morus rotundiloba, a rarely seen native to Thailand. After thirty years work he selected the plant now known as ‘Matsunaga’. This new variety is according to Rice not – as has been suggested – a hybrid between the white mulberry and black mulberry.
“I was especially struck, looking at the 15cm (6in) high young plants being sent out to mail order customers that even such very young plants carried immature fruits which would ripen after planting. Their tolerance of life on the patio, together with their May to September fruiting season, will ensure their popularity”, foresees the RHS-plantsman.