Up to 500 to 1000 years for Morus nigra, black mulberry, 100-250 years for Morus alba,
white mulberry, and 75 years for Morus rubra, red mulberry.
Slow to rapid, depending on temperature.
10-50' high and 10-30' wide, depending on cultivar.
Separate male and female catkins, short and green, can be
present on the same tree or different trees, depending on cultivar.
Male flowers produce excessive amounts of allergy-causing pollen.
Most commercially available cultivars set fruit without pollination and
have no seeds. A few cultivars are self-pollinating and their fruit contains seeds.
Some, less desirable, require a second cultivar as pollenizer.
Years before fruiting:
2-3 if grafted, 10 years if grown from seed.
The "berry" is an aggregate fruit, with many small round fruits clustered together.
Dropped fruit will stain sidewalks and carpets, although white-fruiting cultivars are stainless.
Months for fruit to ripen:
2-3. Berries ripen a few at a time on
some cultivars. For several cultivars, the fruit is ripe when it changes from
shiny black to dull black. Berries will continue to ripen to black if picked when red.
Black mulberries are difficult to pick because they do not release from the stem,
so scissors or clippers are needed. In the kitchen, scissors are used to remove the rest of
the stems from the berries.
Storage after harvest:
Unwashed berries will keep two days in a
refrigerated, closed container. Freezing, eating the same day, or
baking immediately is recommended. They can also be dried. Fresh
mulberry fruit is too delicate to ship and is not carried in stores.
Green, serrated edges, variable shape, turn yellow in fall.
No thorns. Milky sap contains latex.
Aggressive, extensive, lateral roots are no more than 2' deep,
extending beyond the tree's drip line. Smaller, vertical sinker roots
grow from the laterals. Keep these trees away from sidewalks, driveways
and foundations to avoid damage from roots.
Cultivars of Note:
Self pollinating, strongly red-staining, very flavorful berries, produces berries over
a long period, grows 6-8' high.
Self pollinating, extra long, thin fruits, raspberry flavor, seedless, less juicy and not as messy.
Grows 25-30' high, 150 chill hours, USDA 9B-11, hardy to 25°F. This has become one of
the most popular cultivars because of its flavor and general lack of problems. Possibly
Self pollinating, grows 20' high, 300 chill hours, USDA 6-9.
'Weeping Mulberry' / 'Pendula'
Self-fruitful, black-colored, poor-tasting fruit. Grows 8-12' high and 8-16' wide, an ornamental.
'White Fruiting Mulberry'
Self-fruitful, non-staining, white colored berries, mild and sweet, said to taste like
mild honey or white peach. Grows to 30' high.
Attracts birds and squirrels. Bird netting or holographic bird scare tape
should be used to protect fruit. Bird droppings will stain unless berries are white in color.
Silkworms eat only white mulberry leaves and not those of other species.
Toxic / Danger:
Milky sap is a skin irritant. Unripe fruit will cause an upset stomach.
Western Asia for black mulberries, east Asia for white mulberries.
North America for red mulberry.