Four types of mulberry: regular (Morus citrifolia), red (Morus rubra), black (Morus nigra) and white (Morus alba) exhibit a color, hardness and aroma that makes them appealing choices for many wood uses, especially to the Japanese and Chinese who have used mulberry wood for centuries for dressing tables, full-length mirror frames, tea chests, clothes racks and sewing boxes.
All four types of mulberry trees offer a dark-purple-fruit variety which yields a desirable wood to use in smoking meat. The yellow wood has a somewhat tangy, sweet, berry flavor and works well when smoking poultry, beef, pork (especially ham) and game birds.
Because it is so dense and therefore burns longer than other types of wood, many people use mulberry for firewood, much like pear and apple wood. This hardwood is popular for cooking fires due to its sweet-smelling smoke.
Many farmers use mulberry wood for fence posts, especially the red mulberry, because it is a hard wood yet light-weight and durable.
Mulberry wooden barrels in Haraly, Rumania are constructed to distill local plums and other fruits into brandy. After the mulberry wood is shaped into staves, it is left to dry in the open air. Then, coopers cleanse the wood by taking it through a series of washings before it is made into barrels. The brandy matures a few weeks in the mulberry wooden barrels gaining a special taste and color while losing some of its alcohol content. It also dissolves some of the wood giving the brandy its golden, clear shine.
When mulberry wood is cut and dried correctly, it can be made into furniture that is light and durable. This wood is easy to dry and easy to work with because it glues and screws well. Its sapwood may be white to pale yellow while its heartwood ranges from light yellow to light orange that turns to a golden brown when exposed to air and light. The course texture and straight grain are features that have made it popular with the Chinese for centuries. Today, woodworkers make turned items such as bowls and other small items such as face plates.
The dramatic coloration makes mulberry wood popular for interior trim-work, built-in furniture, and custom cabinets. More durable than hardwoods such as oak, mulberry wood is sold as flooring as well.
Bereaving pet owners can purchase biodegradable pet caskets made out of the mulberry wood bark. These caskets are basically light wood boxes with lids. Mulberry paper ash bags can be purchased also.
Tonya Yirka is an Indiana-based writer who has focused on writing for online publications since 2009. She contributes many articles about Chinese culture and traditions to various websites. Yirka, a retired teacher, has a Bachelor of Science in education from Indiana University and attended classes toward a Master of Science in educational studies.