Morus alba

White Mulberry

Botanical description: Morus alba is a small deciduous tree that originated in China and has since been cultivated throughout the world. It was grown in the United States initially for the purpose of establishing a silkworm industry, as mulberry leaves are the preferred food source for the silkworm. Growing to a mature height of fifty feet, white mulberry’s fast growth rate makes this a powerful carbon capturing species in the urban environment. Found on roadsides, disturbed sites, along chain-link fences and unmaintained tree pits, mulberry also inhabits flood plains and riparian areas. Morus can tolerate high salt levels, drought and pollution to a degree unmatched by all but the Ailanthus. Bark and roots of young trees have an orange tint which can help to identify the tree. Insignificant flowers develop into pink or black fruits produced by the tree without restraint to the chagrin of those who dislike the stains the berries leave behind. The fruits of white mulberry are popular ingredient for jams, pies and cookies, and as fresh or dry berries. The leaves are used to make tea and have been recommended in traditional Chinese medicine throughout history. The fruits are also a valuable food source for many birds that help to disperse the tree’s seeds.