Pipal or Mulberry Leaf?

Some designs on Indus civilisation artefacts have been described as pipal leaves. This was the reason that a photograph of a pipal leaf was chosen to head up this website. However, the mulberry must have been important to Indus culture because of its role in silk production. The pipal leaf hangs down, but the mulberry leaf often stands erect. Arguably, the erect growth of the mulberry leaf better matches that in the Indus designs¹. Both the pipal (Ficus tribe) and the mulberry (Moreae tribe) are members of the Moraceae plant family².

Image: Lynn Fawcett
Image: Lynn Fawcett

Image Credit:

Mulberry (Morus nigra) Leaf: Lynn Fawcett, 2022.


1. An example of such a design can be seen in a photograph of a seal impression on the Harappa website: https://www.harappa.com/blog/unicorn-and-pipal-tree-seal


2. Fig. 1 Phylogeny of Moraceae tribes: Nyree J.C. Zerega et al., 2004: Pollination in the New Guinea Endemic Antiaropsis decipiens (Moraceae) Is Mediated by a New Species of Thrips, Thrips antiaropsidis sp. nov. (Thysanoptera: Thripidae): International Journal of Plant Sciences, Volume 165, Number 6, Page 1018: University of Chicago Press.