Maclura tricuspidata is a tree native to East Asia, occasionally grown for its fruit, somewhat similar to that of the related mulberry (Morus spp.). It is also known by common names including cudrang, mandarin melon berry, silkworm thorn, zhe or che , and Chinese mulberry (but not to be confused with Morus australis also known by that name). It grows up to 6 m high.
The Tanzhe Temple west of Beijing, China is named for this tree.
Shrubs or small trees, 1-7 m tall, deciduous. Bark grayish brown. Branchlets slightly ridged, glabrous; spines 0.5-2 cm. Winter buds reddish brown. Petiole 1-2 cm, sparsely pubescent; leaf blade ovate to rhombic-ovate, occasionally 3-lobed, 5-14 × 3-6 cm, abaxially greenish white and glabrous or sparsely pubescent, adaxially deep green and glabrous, base rounded to cuneate, margin entire, apex acuminate; secondary veins 4-6 on each side of midvein, tertiary veins reticulate. Inflorescences axillary, single or in pairs. Male inflorescences capitulate, ca. 5 mm in diam.; peduncle shorter than capitulum. Female inflorescences 1-1.5 cm in diam., axillary; peduncle short. Male flowers: calyx lobes fleshy, margin revolute, apex thick; pistillode pyramidal. Female flowers: calyx lobes with margin revolute, apically shield-shaped; ovary immersed in lower part of calyx. Fruiting syncarp orange red when mature, ± globose, ca. 2.5 cm in diam. Fl. May-Jun, fr. Jun-Jul.
Sunny forest margins, mountain slopes; 500-2200 m. Anhui, Fujian, SE Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Shandong, S Shanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang [Japan (cultivated), Korea].
The bark fibers are used for making paper, the leaves are used as food for silkworms, the fruit are edible, and the bark is used medicinally.
Indications: rheumatic pain, bruises, muscle strain, anemia, dizziness, numbness, irregular menstruation. cough and phlegm, expelling wind and dampness, stasis pain.