Mulberry Blurb

Mulberries can be such a pain to identify. What makes things most difficult is the introduction of the White mulberry, which has hybridized extensively with Red mulberry.
Found from:
Excellent resource differentiating Red and White Mulberry
Unfortunately, these two can hybridize...

Red Mulberry: The native
White Mulberry: The invasive one
Paper Mulberry: velvety-pubescent on leaves, longer petiole. The other invasive one

Black Mulberry: The other, cultivated brother. Slower growing than its invasive counterparts. Also said to have the best berries.
Texas Mulberry: Micro phylla, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 in. Dark auxillary buds clear here.
Korean Mulberry (Morus indica): Not studied

Some things:

M. rubra: 3-9 in
M. alba: 2 1/2 to 8 in
M. nigra: 1 1/2 to 6 in
M. microphylla: 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 in

M. rubra: Finely serrate, doubly serrate?
M. alba: Blunty crenate
M. nigra: Coarsely toothed
M. microphylla: Coarsely serrate

M. rubra: Glabrous, scabrous, almost sandpaper-like above. Soft pubescent beneath.
M. alba: Glabrous and glossy above, glabrous beneath.
M. nigra: Rough, becoming glabrous above. Pubescent(sources vary in description, but it's at least hairy) beneath.
M. microphylla: Somewhat pubescent above. glabrous to hairy-ish below.

Leaf apex:
M. rubra: Acute to prominently acuminate (think very-tapered)
M. alba: Acute to short-acuminate
M. nigra: Acute to short-acuminate
M. microphylla: Acute to short-acuminate

What this basically boils down to:

M. rubra: Large scabrous leaves, finely serrate margins, prominent veins. If apex is very acuminate then that's also a good sign.
M. alba: Glossy leaves, glabrous throughout, bluntly crenate margins.
M. nigra: Rough-ish above, Pubescent beneath (unlike M. alba), coarsely toothed (but not finely serrate like )
M. microphylla: All the leaves are tiny, dark auxilary buds.
Broussonetia papyrifera: Leaves covered in white-velvety pubescence (often creating a white lining around the edges where the light hits the hairs), finely serrate margins.

Anything in-between: Probably a hybrid or something. Leave it be.

Things I looked at:
Trees of Central Texas by Robert A. Vines
A lot of different iNat observations and images.

Posted on July 06, 2021 07:22 PM by arnanthescout arnanthescout


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