There are two Mulberry species found in Britain, the Black Mulberry Morus nigra and the White Mulberry Morus alba. The Black Mulberry, native to Southwest Asia, was probably introduced to Britain in about 1500. It has been cultivated for centuries for its edible fruit and has been planted in many cottage gardens, formal gardens and parks. The fruit of the Black Mulberry is sweet and juicy in late summer. The White Mulberry which is native to China was introduced to Britain in the 16th century. It is the favourite food plant of the silkworm and is cultivated on a large scale in China and other parts of the World. It is rare in Britain but is found in a few gardens in warmer areas. Both species have unisexual flowers and may be monoecious (male and female on the same tree) or dioecious (male and female on different trees). Male flowers are on catkins.
The Black Mulberry leaf is large and heart shaped.
Some White Mulberry leaves are heart shaped, some have lobes.
Black Mulberry female flower cluster in early July. Individual flowers each have a style with a pair of stigmas on the end. Pollination occurs when the stigmas collect male pollen floating in the wind.
White Mulberry female flower cluster in June.
The Black Mulberry fruit turns red at the end of July. This type of fruit is known as a multiple fruit because it consists of a number of drupes fused together to make one big fruit. The fruit is black by August or September.
White Mulberry fruit at the end of July.