RED MULBERRY
File Size: 71 KB
 
Morus rubra  L.
Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center, Newton County, Missouri
Height: 12-65 feet
Family: Moraceae - Mulberry Family
Flowering Period:   April, May
Trunks: Straight, diameter 3 to 12 inches; crown broad, dense; branches close to ground, numerous, spreading; bark thin, gray-brown with reddish-orange tint, shallow furrowed, ridges flat, broad.
Twigs: Reddish-brown to pale greenish-brown, slightly zigzag; lenticels conspicuous, pale, elliptic; buds angling away from twig, egg-shaped, 1/4 to 1/3 inch long, apex acute; bud scales greenish brown, margins maker, ciliate; leaf scars large, oval to irregularly round, somewhat raised; bundle scars numerous, in circle.
Leaves: Alternate, simple, deciduous, highly variable; petiole .8 to 1.2 inch long, glabrous or pubescent; blade broadly ovate, 4 to 12 inches long, 3.2 to 6 inches wide, entire to irregularly 3-5-lobed; upper surface dark green, smooth or usually rough; lower surface paler, minutely pubescent along veins; margins coarsely toothed; lateral veins curve and join neighboring veins near margin; small vein extends to each tooth tip; leaf tip abruptly tapering to point; base rounded to heart-shaped.
Flowers: Male and female flowers on same tree or separate trees; staminate flowers in catkins at bases of leaves on new growth; catkins 1-2 inches long, drooping or erect; calyx 4-lobed, 1/12 to 1/10 inch long, pubescent, green tinged with red; corolla absent; stamens 4; pistillate flowers in dense clusters in leaf axils; clusters cylindrical, 1/3 to 1/2 inch long, 1/5 to 1/4 inch wide; flowers broadly egg-shaped, green; calyx tightly surrounding ovary; stigmas 2, spreading, reddish-brown.
Fruit: May-June; drupes in cylindrical, berry-like clusters .6 to 2 inches long, .4 inch wide, initially bright red, turning dark purple to blackish, juicy, edible; seed oval, about 1/12 inch long, smooth, flattened, pale brown.
Habitat: Stream banks, moist woods, river bottoms, wooded flood plains; usually in moist soils.
Distribution: East 4/5 of Kansas
Origin: Native
Toxicity: The unripe fruit and sap have low levels of toxicity when eaten.
Uses: Often planted in windbreaks. Native Americans and pioneers ate the fruits raw or dried and used the berries to make juice and jam. The sun or fire dried fruits were preserved for winter use and used as food when hunting. An infusion of bark was used to treat dysentery and worms and an infusion of roots taken for urinary disorders. Mulberry sap was rubbed on ringworm and bows were made from the wood.
Comments: Mulberry is an understory tree. The wood is light, soft, coarse-grained, pale orange, and is very durable. It was used in the past to make fence posts. The leaves on the same tree may be entire or deeply lobed.
 See white mulberry

Red mulberry leaf
79 KB
Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center, Newton County, Missouri
Red mulberry leaf
81 KB
Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center, Newton County, Missouri
Red mulberry bark
53 KB
Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center, Newton County, Missouri
Red mulberry leaves
110 KB
Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center, Newton County, Missouri
Red mulberry leaf veins
89 KB
Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center, Newton County, Missouri
Red mulberry bark
135 KB
Johnson County, Kansas