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Red Mulberry Tree

Morus rubra

Height: Up to about 50 feet

Evergreen/Deciduous: Deciduous  

Lifespan: 100 to 125 years

Fall Foliage: Relatively drab yellow  

Range: The southeastern United States, north to New England, west to Minnesota and Texas  

Typical Habitat: Adaptable and widely planted, so it may be encountered anywhere; grows best in damp lowlands and floodplains

red mulberry tree leaves

The Red Mulberry Tree: A Beloved and Beneficial Fruit-Bearing Tree   

Mulberry trees may not be as important as white oaks (Quercus alba) or various hickories (Carya spp.), but their fruit do feed a variety of wild animals, ranging from birds to squirrels and racoons. Humans also eat the fruit from these trees and have since at least the 16th century.

However, at least one authority (the North Carolina State Extension – see below) characterizes the unripe berries and sap of the tree as having “low severity poison characteristics.”

According to this source, unripe berries can cause the eater to experience hallucinations and stomach upset. 

Red Mulberry Tree Identification: Tips & Tricks

Red mulberry leaves are somewhat distinctive, so this tree is generally pretty easy to identify. Additionally, its habit of producing leaves of several different shapes makes it pretty easy to spot – often from a distance.

The fruit – which are somewhat similar to blackberries in appearance – are also a clue, but their absence doesn’t rule out mulberries. These are dioecious plants (meaning that individuals are generally either male or female) and male specimens will lack the fruit entirely.   

The Red Mulberry Tree: Additional Information

Still thirsty for red mulberry knowledge? Enjoy some of these refreshing resources:

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