The mulberry tree first put down its roots in St. George in the 1860’s when LDS Church president Brigham Young imported 100,000 from France. Approximately 2000 mulberry trees were planted here in Southern Utah, thriving in the warm Dixie sunshine providing much needed shade for those early pioneers. But shade was not the only benefit of these fast-growing trees.
Since he knew silkworms thrive on mulberry leaves, President Young – a visionary church and government leader – also obtained silkworm eggs, investing about $25,000 in what he hoped would become a lucrative cottage industry for the women in the area. He even supervised the construction of a model cocoonery to house 2,000,000 worms which each produced a cocoon yielding approximately two miles of silk thread.
In an effort to spread “the gospel of silk,” the Deseret Silk Association was organized to provide information on the silk culture and distribute eggs to those who were excited about the potential for any kind of income in this barren desert.
By 1877, there were more than 5 million silk worms in the territory but the hoped-for prosperity was short lived. The arrival of railroad brought with it a less expensive silk from China.
But the trees value for shade in our triple digit summer weather were still said to “leaf up and look pretty good in the spring.”
And, a not-so-well-known secret about the mulberry tree is that it drops its leaves on one single night … when the temperature drops to below freezing. So, if you wake up some morning on your Southern Utah vacation to a pile of mulberry leaves outside your bedroom window … you’ll know it’s cold outside!
This and other tidbits of trivia about our area will provide you with information you need to enjoy a memorable getaway. If you are looking for beautiful, affordable home-away-from-home vacation resort rental register online today at www.stgeorgeresortrentals.com for accommodations at the St. George Resort Rentals or www.laspalmasresortcondos.com for Five Seasons Vacation condominiums. You’ll find comfortable living spaces, fully stocked kitchens with all appliances; free-use laundry sets in every unit; and resort amenities. Your keys will be waiting!