Red mulberry (Morus rubra)

Red mulberry leaves

Click on the images help you identify an Red mulberry.

Form

Small tree reaching heights of 18' to 30', sometimes even 50', with a diameter of up to 18"; trunk often divides near the ground in many stout, spreading branches forming a compact, broad, round topped crown.

Bark

Dark reddish brown, deeply fissured with scaly ridges.

Leaf

Simple, alternate on stem, length 3" to 7"; thin and membranous in texture with margins that are singly or occasionally doubly toothed; abruptly pointed; variable in form, especially on young shoots, having from three to five lobes or a single lobe on one side; dark bluish green; smooth or rough above, pale and softly hairy beneath; produces a milky juice when broken; turns yellow in autumn.

Fruit (seed)

Berrylike, about an inch long; red when fully grown, becoming dark purple to black when ripe; sweet and juicy and very attractive to birds.

Range

Scattered and rare, found in southeastern Minnesota in the Mississippi and Minnesota river valleys; moderately shade tolerant, moderately fast growing.

Wood uses

Coarse-grained, soft, light in weight, weak, decay-resistant; thick, lighter-colored sapwood; of little commercial value but used for fence posts, boat building, and small articles of furniture; often used in wildlife plantings because the fruit is an important food source.