Red Mulberry - Morus rubra
Red Mulberry is Canada’s only native mulberry species, and is threatened in Ontario. Unfortunately, Red Mulberry is often out-competed by the non-native White Mulberry, and also easily hybridizes with its relative, causing a loss of genetic purity in the native species. Red Mulberry fruit is delicious and edible to humans when ripe, and is quickly eaten by birds and small mammals in the summer. These trees do make nice ornamental trees that attract many bird species, but they require a lot of space, and their fruit can be a little messy!
The leaves of the Red Mulberry are alternate and asymmetrical, and hairy underneath. White Mulberry leaves are usually hairless. Photo by Chris Earley.
Red Mulberry bark is reddish-brown and can be separated into flaky strips. Photo by Chris Earley.
Red mulberry has large, spreading and drooping branches that require a lot of space. The trunk of the Red Mulberry is short and quickly divides into the aforementioned spreading branches. It can also grow up to 20 m high and 75 cm in diameter. Photo by Chris Earley.
The fruits of the Red Mulberry are a dark red-purple-black when mature, and are comparatively darker than those of the White Mulberry. Photo by Chris Earley.
Ontario Tree Atlas map of non-planted Red Mulberry. 1995-1999.
Farrar, J.L.. 1995. Trees in Canada. Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd. Toronto. ON. 504 pp.
Kershaw, L. 2001. Trees in Ontario: Including tall shrubs. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. AB. 240 pp
Muma, W. 2011. Ontario Trees and Shrubs. [Online] Available: www.ontariotrees.com
OMNR, 2011. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources: Ontario Tree Atlas. [Online] Available: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/ClimateChange/2ColumnSubPage/267027.html
OMNR, 2008. Ontario’s Biodiversity: Species at Risk.