Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Morus rubra

Red mulberry, Moral

Moraceae (Mulberry Family)

Morus rubra (Red mulberry)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Medium-sized tree with short trunk, broad rounded crown, and milky sap. Habitat similar to that of the White Mulberry. Leaves up to 8 inches long, ovate and with or without lobes; tip elongate, emerging abruptly from the rounded blade. Blade margins serrate and base rounded or truncate to somewhat heart shaped, lower surface covered with fine hairs and soft to the touch, turning bright yellow in the fall. Flowers and fruits similar to those of the White Mulberry. Fruit 3/4 to 1 1/4 inches long.

Image Gallery:

4 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Black, Purple, Red
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun


USA: AL , AR , CT , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , IA , KS , KY , LA , MD , MA , MI , MN , MS , MO , NE , NJ , NY , NC , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VT , VA , WV , WI , DC
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: S. Ontario east to Massachusetts, south to S. Florida, west to central Texas and north to SE. Minnesota; to 2000 (610 m).
Native Habitat: Shaded woods, Stream, river banks, Ditches, Ravines, Depressions

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay


Use Ornamental: Understory tree, Attractive, Fruits ornamental
Use Wildlife: Fruit-mammals, Fruit-birds.
Use Food: Native Americans used the fruits fresh and for beverages, breads and cakes, dumplings and preserves, and mixed dried fruits with animal fat for pemmican. Red mulberry fruits have long been used in Appalachia for raw fruit, pies, jams, juice and wine. (Athenic). Ripe fruits are eaten raw or made into pies, jellies, or jams. Also used in breads, muffins, and cakes. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Use Medicinal: Native Americans used the the plant medicinally as a worming agent, remedy for dysentery, laxative and emetic.
Use Other: The wood is used locally for fenceposts, furniture, interior finish, and agricultural implements. Choctaw Indians and many other indigenous people wove cloaks from the fibrous inner bark of young mulberry shoots.
Warning: Unripe fruit and milky sap from all parts have low toxicity if eaten. Symptoms include hallucinations and stomach upset. Toxic Principle: Unidentified.
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Mourning Cloak.

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Morus rubra is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Mourning Cloak
(Nymphalis antiopa)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Last Update: 2015-11-09