White Mulberry

Basic Information
Tree ID: 
Genus and species: 
The regal Morus alba sits in the center of the Marsh Botanical Gardens. It stands alone at a strong 6.7 m, providing shade for those who sit underneath its branches. The morus alba is a deciduous tree, losing its leaves in the fall, but beginning to bud in the spring.
Ami Santoyo and Sabrina Casavechia
Collected Data
Date of tree entry: 
6.70 m
Diameter at breast height: 
2.84 m

There are too many multiple trunks to accurately measure the DBH, so this is just an estimate
The mulberry's bark is light, soft and coarse grained. It is brown. It did not have any moss growth.
Twigs & branches
The numerous twigs all contain a milky sap. The sap is an irritant to humans.
The M. alba produces thin, green leaves with an oval shape. These leaves are approximaately 2-4 inches long with triangular teeth, or "tooth margins." Both sides of the leaves are smooth, with the upper surface being quite shiny. The lower part of the leaf also has hairs along the main veins.
Reproductive Structures
The white mulberry produces clusters of small petalless flowers in a dense hanging spike. Male and female flowers are usually produced on separate plants (dioecious) where the male flower is elongated and narrow while the female flower is more oval-shaped. However, sometimes these flowers can be produced on the same plant (monoecious). It is also notable for the rapid release of its pollen, which launches over half the speed of sound! The white mulberry flowers bloom from April to June. The main pollination mechanism for these flowers is through wind dispersal. However, the berries produced by the white mulberry may also attract birds and other small mammals that may also help in pollination. The flowers are single-sex catkins, which are usually downy and pendulous
The white mulberry does exhibit fruit production. It is capable of producing berries, that are posionous when unripe. When ripe, they are edible and have a generally sweet, bland flavor. Consumption of unripe berries can result in stomach upset, nervous system stimulation and hallucinations. The fruit is around 1–1.5 cm long. In the wild it is deep purple, but in many cultivated plants it varies from white to pink.
  • Spring Budding 2019
  • Fall 2018
Natural range of distribution: 
Origin and Habitat: The Morus alba, white mulberry is native to northern China. However, due to the development of the silk industry, the trees were brought over and naturalized in Europe and in the United States. The trees are now highly cultivated as lawn trees in the United States and can also be found in urban areas. The white mulberry does not thrive in the shade, and does not usually grow in heavily forested areas.
Origin, history, and uses: 

Origin: Cultivation of white mulberry for silkworms began over four thousand years ago in China. In 2002, 6,260 km2 of land were devoted to the species in China. 


Uses: White mulberry leaves have traditionally been used as feedstock for silkworms. These leaves can also be used as a food source for livestock in areas where dry seasons restrict the availability of ground vegetation. In Korea, the leaves of the white mulberry have been used traditionally for tea. The berries from the white mulberry can be eaten once they are ripe or can also be dried or even made into wine!

Currently, the properties of the Morus alba have been looked at for medicinal purposes. Albanol A., which is isolated from the root bark extract of M. alba, may be a promising lead compound for developing an effective drug for treatment of leukemia.


Ohio Weedguide. (n.d.). Retrieved April 24, 2019, from http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weedguide/single_weed.php?id=77

Plants Profile for Morus alba (white mulberry). (n.d.). Retrieved April 24, 2019, from https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=MOAL

White mulberry (males or fruitless cultivars) | The Morton Arboretum. (n.d.). Retrieved April 24, 2019, from https://www.mortonarb.org/trees-plants/tree-plant-descriptions/white-mul…

Media and Arts
PDF icon Seamus, The Brave White Mulberry2.51 MB