WHITE MULBERRY
File Size: 48 KB
 
Morus alba  L.
Riley County, Kansas
Height: 12-50 feet
Family: Moraceae - Mulberry Family
Flowering Period:   April, May
Trunks: Straight; bark smooth, thin, brown tinged with yellow or orange, shallowly furrowed, ridges long and narrow; branches numerous, spreading, some close to ground.
Twigs: Orange brown to dark greenish, pubescent or sometimes glabrous; lenticels rust colored, elliptic, conspicuous; buds closely appressed to twig, globose to triangular, 1/6 to 1/4 inch, apex acute or rounded; bud scales yellowish brown with dark margins; leaf scars half-round to nearly round; bundle scars six or more, in a circle.
Leaves: Alternate, simple, deciduous, both lobed and unlobed on same tree; petiole 1 to 2 inches, pubescent; blade ovate, 2.5 to 4 inches long, 1.2 to 2.4 inches wide; base heart-shaped, wedge-shaped or truncate; margins often irregularly lobed, coarsely toothed; tip short-pointed; lower surface glabrous or primary veins and vein axils pubescent; upper surface glabrous, glossy.
Flowers: Male and female flowers on same tree or separate trees; staminate flowers in catkins at bases of leaves on new growth; staminate catkins 1 to 1.6 inches long; staminate sepals 4, green with red tips, ca. .06 inch long, pubescent; corolla absent; stamens 4; pistillate catkins .2 to .3 inch; ovary green, glabrous; stigmas 2; style branches divergent, reddish brown.
Fruit: May-June; drupes in cylindrical, berry-like clusters .6 to 1 inch long, .4 inch wide, initially bright red, turning dark purple to blackish, rarely white, juicy, edible; seeds tan, ovoid .08 to .12 inch.
Habitat: Margins of woods, thickets, fencerows, and disturbed sites. Sometimes planted as shade trees.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas
Origin: Introduced
Uses: The Cherokee used the fruit for food and took infusions of bark as a purgative and laxative.
Comments: White mulberry is highly variable. It is easily confused with red mulberry, Morus rubra, which has larger leaves with long-pointed tips and lower surfaces that are more pubescent. The leaves are a silkworm food source. White mulberry sometimes goes by the common name silkworm mulberry.
 See red mulberry

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White mulberry pistillate catkins
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