Red Mulberry

Morus rubra


Red Mulberry is a native deciduous tree found in most of Virginia. Many species of birds eat the fruits, including waxwings, thrushes, tanagers, flycatchers, woodpeckers, crows, jays, cuckoos, titmice, and others. The fruits are eaten by squirrels, raccoons, and other mammals. The leaves are eaten by many insects, including lace bugs and mealybugs, and numerous species of beetles bore through the wood. Red Mulberry is shade-tolerant and can grow to heights of 30 to 60 feet. The first English colonists to explore Virginia in 1607 mentioned the abundance of both mulberry trees and their fruit. Red Mulberry is now not common in urban and suburban areas and is susceptible to hybridization from the invasive White Mulberry. By coincidence, the genus name Morus is also the genus for seabirds called gannets, who are in the same family as boobies. The mulberry genus is based on the Latin name of the tree, while the gannet genus is from the Greek word moros, which means foolish, because birds on their breeding ground lacked fear and were easy for humans to kill.

Identification Tools

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North America Virginia

Lobed Red Mulberry leaves
Mulberry leaves of this species (and others) are quite variable. This image shows lobed leaves.

Unlobed Red Mulberry leaves
This is also a Red Mulberry, even though these leaves lack lobes.

One red mulberry
Here is a single berry hanging below the leaves.

Red Mulberry bark
The bark of the Red Mulberry is fairly smooth.

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