Monday, June 11, 2007

Mulberry Tree Mystery Chronicles, continued

These images are from two different mulberry tree specimens, and I believe them to be two different species as well. The fruits are starting to mature, and when the lighting is better I’ll share some of those!

For those just joining us, we have a bit of a year-old-mystery on our hands concerning the various mulberry trees growing around the farm where I live outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Last month Sam gave us some great identification tips in the comments:

sam said...

"To distinguish Mulberrys:

Paper Mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera) Leaves are densely hairy, and the fruit is round.

White Mulberry (Morus alba) Aggressive tree but shade intolerant, leaves are usually glossy above and the margins have rounded teeth. Ripe fruits tend to be lighter (think pink to purple) than M. rubra or M. nigra, though this is not always the case.

Red Mulberry (Morus rubra) Uncommon, but shade tolerant and prefers moist sites. Can grow to a fairly large size. The leaves are usually rough on top, margins have pointed teeth, and are not as glossy as M.

Black Mulberry (Morus nigra) similar to M. rubra, it is the shortest of the lot, often with a twisted, leaning trunk. The best clue is strongly cordate (heart shaped) leaf bases."

I’m confident that sooner or later, we’ll get this all sorted out.

If you’re a mulberry expert, give us your two cents!


  1. Well I don't know anything about the Mulberry-- but I am in love with the shape of its leaves!

  2. Greetings Kim! Great to see you again! I agree - mulberry trees are simply lovely. :)

  3. I have a mulberry bush/tree in my yard over my patio. It has been there for many years and we have been cutting it back because it has been a nuisance. We didn't know what it was.....until last year when it produce the sweetest, juiciest berries!!!! It will forever grow now in our yard!! I am searching for recipes and how to prune it to keep it healthy. It is thriving in a shady area of our yard.

  4. Anon, you are fortunate indeed! Birds love mulberries - around here, we're lucky if we get to eat any before the birds take them all. Today, there is not a ripe berry to be seen!

  5. Looking at the two pics, I have seen both shapes on one tree. I assumed that bugs had shaped the "oak leaf"looking one by eating around the spines (?) on each leaf. Bugs have been doing that to my rose bushes, too.
    I am by no means an expert or even novice.I have more of a pastel-green thumb.
    On a side note, I am fearful that coming generations will not know plants/trees from a hole in the ground! I know my Mom can recognize many more than I can and her Mother knew even more. It's sad think about. My niece grew up in the city and has no knowledge.
    Anyhow, just my two cents. Katy


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