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Morus

Mulberry
Moraceae
Deciduous, Edible fruit, Trees, Decorative fruit or berries

Deciduous trees with leaves of variable size and shape, often on the same plant. Yellow autumn color ranges from subdued to bright. Fruits somewhat resemble miniature blackberries and are favored by birds.

Morus alba

Native to China. Fast-growing tree can reach 30–50 ft. high and wide, though it’s often smaller. Leaves to 6 in. long and nearly as wide are often lobed. Fruit-bearing (female) trees have inconspicuous flowers followed by white, pink, or purple fruit that is sweet but rather insipid; it stains paved surfaces (as well as clothing). Tolerates desert heat, alkaline soil, and seacoast conditions. Resistant to Texas root rot. Subject to sooty canker disease.

Stake new plants—they quickly develop large crowns, which may snap from slender young trunks in high winds. For the first few years, branches may grow so long that they droop from their own weight; shorten such branches to a well-placed upward-growing bud. Difficult to garden under because of heavy surface roots. Takes some aridity but performs better with regular moisture.

Excessive pollen has made these illegal in some desert jurisdictions.

Morus nigra

Likely a native of western Asia. Grows to 30 ft. tall and 35 ft. wide, with a short trunk and dense, spreading head. Heart-shaped leaves to 8 in. long. Large, juicy dark red to black fruit.

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