White Mulberry

Morus alba
Mulberry Family (Moraceae)
Broadleaf Deciduous Tree
Flowers: May
Fruits: Jun–Jul
Native Range: China

Introduction: 1700s by the British in an attempt to establish a silk industry in America (it is the hostplant for the silkworm moth). Mid-Atlantic Range & Habitats: Disturbed forests and woodlands, hedgerows, yards, and old fields, throughout the region.

Ecological Impacts:

A favored bird food, this species is dispersed widely by bird consumption of the fruits. Where it grows alongside the native Red Mulberry, the two species readily hybridize. In Ontario, at the northern limit of the native range, hybrids are always found where the two species co-occur. Both pure White individuals and White x Red hybrids show greater fitness than pure Red individuals in studies. In the presence of White Mulberry, Red Mulberry trees produce very few pure Red offspring. For these reasons, White Mulberry threatens to genetically swamp populations the native species.

Quick ID

  • Mature leaf blades, upper surfaces: Usually shiny
  • Leaf blades, undersides: Underside of leaves not hairy, except on the veins
  • Fruit size: Fruit 1–2 cm long
  • Winter buds: Winter buds 3–4 mm long

More ID Tips

Red Mulberry has larger leaves than White Mulberry, but there is significant overlap. The ripe fruits of red mulberry are purplish black and 2–3 cm long. The ripe fruits of white mulberry range from white to black and are 1–2 cm long.