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Morus rubra L.

Red Mulberry

Modern name

Morus rubra L.

A deciduous tree 40 to over 60 ft high in the wild with a trunk 3 or 4 ft in diameter. Leaves broadly ovate to roundish, heart-shaped at the base, slender-pointed, occasionally two- or three-lobed, toothed, 3 to 5 (occasionally 7 or 8) in. long, three-fourths to about as much wide, somewhat rough above with scattered stiff hairs, or the remains of them, very downy beneath; stalk 12 to 1 in. long. Male spikes 1 to 2 in. in length, slender and catkin-like; females 1 in. long; both downy. Fruit clusters 1 to 114 in. long, cylindrical; at first red, then dark purple, sweet.

Native of the eastern and central United States; introduced in 1629. In my experience this mulberry thrives the worst of those here mentioned. At Kew it always has an unhappy appearance, and I do not know of good trees elsewhere. Probably our climate is as unsuited for it as for several other trees from the same region. In the United States it produces a light, tough, durable timber, and, according to Sargent, is planted in the southern States for the value of its fruit as food for poultry and hogs. Several named varieties are also cultivated there for human use. It is distinguished from M. alba and M. nigra by the leaves being much more downy beneath.

M. microphylla Buckl. – A small tree or shrub usually under 15 ft high Leaves ovate, 112 to 214 in. long, often three- or five-lobed, rough above glabrous or downy beneath. Fruits about 12 in. long, black when fully ripe. A native of the S.W. United States and N. Mexico, first described from W. Texas, remarkable for its small leaves.



Other species in the genus