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Native Plant Database

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Morus rubra (Red mulberry)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Morus rubra

Morus rubra L.

Red mulberry, Moral

Moraceae (Mulberry Family)

Synonym(s): Morus murrayana, Morus rubra var. murrayana

USDA Symbol: MORU2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

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.

 

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

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NE , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
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: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay

Benefit

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

Mr. Smarty Plants says

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August 05, 2009
Hello, I am a chef from Buenos Aires Argentina visiting Austin, Texas and would like to learn about native, edible plants in the region. Please let me know if there are any native, edible plants...
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National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FACU FACU FACU FACU FACU
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:

Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
National Butterfly Center - Mission, TX
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Bibliography

Bibref 354 - Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country (1981) Lynch, D.
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 663 - Poisonous Plants of North Carolina (1994) Vondracek, W. ; L. Van Asch
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Bibref 297 - Trees of Central Texas (1984) Vines, Robert A.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter1994 VOL. 11, NO.6 - Wildflower Center Featured Non-Profit in Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, Dana Leav...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Morus rubra in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Morus rubra in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Morus rubra

Metadata

Record Last Modified: 2013-03-29
Research By: TWC Staff

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