Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Morus rubra (Red mulberry)
Smith, R.W.

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. 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.


From the Image Gallery

12 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Achene , Aggregate
Size Notes: Up to about 65 feet tall, often shorter.
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Syncarps, black, purple or red.

Bloom Information

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


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


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)

Mourning Cloak
(Nymphalis antiopa)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Edible Plants for North Georgia
January 10, 2010
We are planning a forest food garden in the hollers of the N GA Mountains. Which edible fruit, nut, berry, herb and creepers would be best for this reddish, clay-like soil? The food garden is in...
view the full question and answer

Edible Plants for a Virginia Rain Garden
October 21, 2009
Can you recommend edible plants that would be appropriate for use in a rain garden? I'm located in Charlottesville, VA, but this can be in general as well.
view the full question and answer

Native alternative for Japanese Red Maple in Oklahoma
October 12, 2009
Mr. Smarty Plants, I am looking for a native alternative to a Japanese Red Maple. I would like a small tree that I can put in my front garden that will not pose a security risk my being overgrown and ...
view the full question and answer

Edible plants native to Austin, TX
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...
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

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 Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

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
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
Wellspring Organic Farm and Education Center - West Bend, WI


Bibref 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.
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

Web Reference

Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1994 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


Record Modified: 2023-04-18
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back