Morus rubra

red mulberry, moral


Leaf Arrangement


Leaf Attachment


Leaf Margin

entire, lobed

Leaf Type


Leaf Shape

oblong, ovate

Growth Form


Flower Color

green, white, yellow

Flower Month

March - June

Height (meters)

18.0 - 25.0

Milky Sap








Growing Season

Warm season

Leaf Retention


Wetland Class


Prairie Coefficient of Conservatism


Field Characters

Large simple, alternate, doubly serrate leaves 3-9 inches long, rough above, fuzzy below, 3-7 lobes varying from tree to tree. White mulberry, Morus alba L., also occurs in Louisiana and may be distinguished by the absence of hairs under its leaves. Leaves sometimes lobed, sometimes not. Base of leaf symmetrical. Black berries.

Cultural Information

The fruit and bird droppings containing the fruit stain badly and for this reason they are rarely planted as ornamental trees. Propagation is best by seed. The seeds should be stratified in moist sand for 90-120 days at 41 F. The seeds germinate in 1-2 weeks after spring planting (Vines 1960). There are 360,000 seeds/lb. and 100 lbs. fruit contain 3-4 lbs. of seed. It can also be propagated by cuttings.

Animal Use

Many birds and squirrels eat the fruit of this tree.

Natural History

The Acadian French name for mulberry is "murier," its original French name. The fruit is called "mure d'arbre" (Holmes 1990). The life span of these trees is about 125 years (Vines 1960). The Tonkawas Indians of Texas, and probably the Caddos of Texas and Louisiana, made a crude cloth from the inner bark of mulberry. The fruit was eaten by the Comanches of Texas (Newcomb 1993). The fruit is sweet and edible and made into jams, jellies, pies, eaten fresh or dried for later use (Chase 1965, Medsger 1966). The fruit ripens from May - June and resembles a blackberry. The wood is light and durable and has been used for fence posts and in making barrels. The bark fibers can be made into rope.


Upland woods and floodplains, stream banks.

Plant Uses

The wood is light, soft, not strong, but quite durable. It is used for rough fencing and slack cooperage.