mulberry and the polymer clay smooshers guild

The Bee and the Orange Tree polymer clay pendant, based on a fairy tale story by French writer Marie-Catherine d'Aulnoy.

pendant by Positively Charming Things

I’m not sure what a mulberry is.  I mean I know it must be a berry, but what else?  I don’t recall ever eating one.  Are they tasty and full of antioxidants (come to think of it, I’m not quite sure what an antioxidant is)?  I seem to think they are a deep reddish purple but where do they grow?  They grow on bushes right?:

“here we go round the mulberry bush,                                                                                              the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush,                                                                                            here we go round the mulberry bush,                                                                                                so early in the morning”

the story of Philemon and Baucis

pendant by Cat's Wire

I decided it was time for a bit of research.  It seems there is no such thing as a mulberry bush – it is a tree.  Asian in origin, it comes in three varieties, white, red, and black, with the white being the most variable in appearance as well as being considered a “weed” tree in some areas.  There also a number of ‘clones’ and related species.  The trees vary in longevity from 75 years to hundreds, they sometimes change from one sex to the other, and have different cold tolerances.

The fruit is described as “not a berry, but a collective fruit” and as looking like a swollen loganberry.  The fruit comes in a variety of colors ranging from white to an-almost-black red.  The fruit doesn’t ripen all at once, instead it ripens over an extended period of time.

wall hanging by Creative Critters

Huh.  So it would appear the mulberry trees are as befuddled as I am.  Wait…what about the nursery rhyme?

It was written by James Orchard Halliwell in the mid nineteenth century.  There was an original version with a “bramble bush”, which was changed to mulberry, as well as more verses.  The most interesting tidbit of my research:

“Local historian R. S. Duncan has suggested that the song derives from female prisoners at HMP Wakefield. A sprig was taken from Hatfield Hall (Normanton Golf Club) in Stanley, Wakefield, which grew into a fully mature mulberry tree around which prisoners would exercise. There is no corroborative evidence to support this theory.” (from Wikipedia)

I suppose everyone already knew all about mulberries, their trees, and the rhyme, but I didn’t.  I had no idea joining the Polymer Clay Smooshers Guild on Artfire would turn into such an educational experience.

I think I need to buy some mulberry jam.

necklace by Haffina

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5 Responses to mulberry and the polymer clay smooshers guild

  1. I love the research – and the samples you found!!! When I put up the topic I was thinking of the crayola crayon color that’s where I found the idea but had no prior knowledge as to exactly what a mulberry was either – I love the history. Thank you for participating – very informative – and very refreshing!!

  2. Thank you Kris! (And I’m glad I’m not the only one who didn’t know about mulberries!)

  3. I had a mulberry tree in my yard that had the most delicious berries! All the animals and birds loved that tree (I was willing to share with them) 😉 This is a great post, and I want to thank you for including my Oak tree wall hanging! =)
    -Michelle of CreativeCritters

  4. I’m glad you liked my post! I love your Oak tree wall hanging and just had to include it!

  5. valldawn says:

    I’m like you! I thought it was a bush, didn’t know where the song came from! Very interesting post & cool pictures Too!

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