George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 5 March 1765]

5th. March 1765. Grafted 15 English Mulberrys on wild Mulberry Stocks on the side of the Hill near the Spring Path. Note the Stocks were very Milkey.

There is no species known as the English mulberry, but Morus nigra, black mulberry, was commonly grown in England for its edible fruits. It was known to eighteenth-century Virginia planters as the English mulberry. While feeding silkworms on mulberry leaves and making paper from the bark were much discussed and attempted in GW’s day, there is no evidence that he raised the trees for anything but ornamentation and fruit. M. alba multicaulis, the white mulberry used in silkworm culture, is not mentioned in any of the Mount Vernon documents. GW purchased four young paper mulberry trees, Broussonetia papyrifera, from William Hamilton in Mar. 1792.

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