Mulberry tree identification 

The Black Mulberry Morus nigra, native to south-west Asia, was probably introduced 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 Morus alba, 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 the warmer areas.

Mulberry tree identification – Black Mulberry and White Mulberry – tree shape, leaf shape and fruit colour in summer and autumn

Black Mulberry

Black Mulberry tree

Black Mulberry tree in July. The tree often has a twisted trunk and is low-growing. Its barks deep ridges.

Black Mulberry leaf

The leaf is large and heart shaped. The underside of the leaf is hairy

Black Mulberry female flower clusters

Five green female flower clusters in early July. Each cluster consists of a spike of flowers.  Individual flowers a style with a pair of stigmas on the end. Green male flowers are in the form of catkins.  Pollination occurs when the stigmas collect male pollen floating in the wind but female trees can produce fruit without pollination.

Black Mulberry fruit

The fruit turns red at the end of July and is black by August or September.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 lateral (side) buds are alternate and pointed on a zig-zag shoot

White Mulberry

White Mulberry tree

White Mulberry tree in July. It is an upright tree with a Willow-like trunk.

White Mulberry leaf

Most leaves are heart shaped but some have lobes. The leaves are used to feed silkworms.

White Mulberry female flower clusters

Female flower clusters in June

White Mulberry fruit

The flowers produce fruit in July which changes from white through purple

Buds are very small, completely different from the Black Mulberry.