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Chlorophora tinctoria / Maclura tinctoria - Dyer's mulberry


Native to:



Central America, most of South America, the Caribbean.

Moist or dry thickets of forest. Up to 1500 meters above sea level. 20 meter tall tree.

Chlorophora tinctoria / Maclura tinctoria - Dyer's mulberry

Ecological value:

Leaves are a food source of silk worms. Medium growth rate, pioneer. Succeeds in many soil types, but prefers moist soil. Full sun. Pioneer in its natural range. Can be used for restoration projects. Often found in secondary forests.

Material uses:

Wood is strong and durable, in shades of light green and yellow. Used in construction, interiors, flooring and furniture. Wood is a source of dye (Maclurin is the coloring chemical in the wood), rustic the name of dye. Was used on khaki fabric for U.S. military apparel during WW1.

Edible uses:

Fruits eaten raw.

Medicinal use:

Bark is astringent, tonic and vermifuge.

Other details:

Cultivated as an ornamental. Fustic in combination with woad or indigo: green dye. With ferrous sulfate: dark greens. With copper sulfate: olive green. With logwood and bichromate of potash: green-yellow. With bichromate of potash: ‘old’ gold.


Amy Feng/Christine Facella


“Maclura Tinctoria (L.) D.Don Ex G.Don | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 27, 2023.
‌Lorenzi. H., ‘Brazilian Trees. Volume 2. 4th Edition’, Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil, 2002
“Maclura Tinctoria - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 6, 2023.
Mabberley, D.J. ‘The plant book: A portable dictionary of the vascular plants’. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997
Goodwin, Jill, ‘ A Dyer's Manual. London’, Pelham Books Ltd. p. 60, 1982
Image source: MBB

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