Red Mulberry
Morus rubra

Location in Ontario

Red Mulberry is a Carolinian Tree that grows in the Niagara region, as well as in Essex County. It  is an understorey tree that prefers well-drained, moist soil.

COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) Status: Red Mulberry is identified as an Endangered Species. It has a limited range and hybridizes with the non-native, widely planted White Mulberry.

COSEWIC: Red Mulberry


Rondeau Provincial Park

Genus Morus
Leaves are alternate, simple and often lobed and toothed on the edges. Mulberries are a fast-growing medium sized tree to 15 metres in height. The trees can be monoecious or dioecious. and the fruit is a composite fruit. Some places have banned mulberries because of the large amounts of pollen they produce. White Mulberry, an Asian species, has extensively naturalized, and produced hybrids with the native Red Mulberry, causing Red Mulberry to become endangered. Red Mulberry is the only Morus species that grows in Ontario.

In the Landscape
Red mulberry is a medium sized tree that grows up to 20 metres and can live to 100 years of age. It is not often used as a landscape plant because its fruit can cause stains on sidewalks and driveways. However, this medium sized tree has a nice rounded crown and edible, tasty berries! Sadly, most Mulberry Trees plants are the invasive White Mulberry from China and India.


Red Mulberry in winter, Rondeau Provincial Park


Leaves
The leaves are simple with coarse teeth. Some leaves have lobes and some are shiny on some trees. Leaves turn yellow in the fall.
Bark
The bark is reddish-brown and has long flaky strips.
Flowers
Red Mulberry is dioecious, with male (pollen) flowers and female (seed) flowers occurring on different trees. Pollen bearing flowers are tiny and green in loose, elongated clusters. Seed bearing flowers are similar, but in short, dense clusters. Flowers appear in May with the leaves and are wind pollinated.
Fruit
Seeds are in an aggregate fruit that is reddish-purple in colour. The fruit is sweet, juicy and good to eat. Fruit ripens in July and is produced yearly after 10 years of growth.

TREE FACT: Bird watchers love this Carolinian tree because it attracts birds with its tasty fruit!

Wood
The wood is hard, heavy and durable
. It is used for fence posts, barrels and furniture.
Specific gravity: 0.69
Janka Hardness: 1680 lb
Wood Comparison Chart


University of Guelph Arboretum

Link to United States Forest Service Silvics Manual for Red Mulberry.

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