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City of Ithaca
Stewart Park Tree Tour

White Mulberry
Morus alba

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White Mulberry or Morus alba, a tree native to China, was brought to North America to support the early silk industry. The leaves are feed to the larvae that create the silken cocoons. The trees were introduced in Jamestown, Virginia but as an extremely adaptable tree, it escaped cultivation and has naturalized widely here and in Europe.

Mulberries grow fast into medium sized trees with a coarse texture and polymorphic leaves, meaning that the individual leaves on one plant may have many different shapes, having one, two or no lobes on a leaf. The flowers are insignificant and it is most notable for is white, pink, or purple fruits that appear in late spring.

The sweet, fleshy fruits are edible and attract many bird species. The resulting mess on the ground makes this tree most suitable for natural unpaved areas. The ducks in the park love the fruit from this particular tree.

Morus rubra or Red Mulberry is a similar native tree that prefers moist, rich soils and bears a smaller fruit.

More info, images at the Woody Plants Database website.

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For more information about Ithaca City Trees, contact City Forester Jeanne Grace: (607) 272-1718.