Trees

Red mulberry (Morus rubra)

The Morus rubra belongs to the genus Morus is native to North America, where it can be seen scattered in the wild from Massachusetts, South Ontario and Minnesota, further south it grows in Florida, Texas and Dakota and where its habitat Natural are thick, lowland forests and wood margins. They can sometimes be seen in urban parks and gardens.

Related article:Mulberry

Characteristics of the Morus rubra

It is a tree from 9 to 18 meters high, it has a vigorous trunk almost 1 meter wide with a quite branched crown. At maturity, the bark has a grayish brown or reddish color, where you can see a series of irregular strips delineated one from another by not very pronounced grooves and their similar colored branches are smooth. The youngest trees are green, can be glabrous or pubescent.

Its abundant leaves alternate on branches and shoots. Like the buds they contain a milky sap . Its measurements are 7 to 15 cm long and 5 to 10 cm wide. The upper part of the leaves is dark green and commonly has a rough surface full of tiny hairs, while the underside of the leaf is lighter green.

Alternate leaves occur abundantly along the branches and shoots; the sap is present in leaves and shoots . At the base of the leaf there is a central vein and two lateral veins, also protruding like the first. The adjacent veins are pinnately placed along the central vein of the leaves. The petioles are light green, glabrous and sometimes pubescent.

The flowers of the red mulberry are unisexual, with dioecious male and female flowers, so it is understood that those trees that have only male flowers never bear fruit. Its appetizing fruits are reddish to purple in color, are juicy and have a sweet flavor.

Culture

The red mulberry is a tree that is not usually grown, but if you want to, it is preferable if you grow it in full sun and in moist soil . It is a species that tolerates various types of soil and a variety of soil pH. It is a robust plant that grows and develops quickly. To enjoy its fruits, you must wait at least 10 years, it can reach a longevity of up to 125 years.

You can plant its seeds in the open in the fall season. If you want, you can use the cold stratification technique, keeping the seeds at a suitable temperature for 30 to 90 days, and then planting in spring.

Applications

It can be used for ornamental purposes for its attractive leaves and fruits. Its ripe fruits can be eaten directly from the tree, the unripe ones can be toxic. They are also used to make wines, cakes, jellies and jams.

The natives of the United States of North America gave it some medicinal uses as an anthelmintic, depurative, emetic and to treat dysentery. It is also used in the installation of fence posts, furniture making and interior finishes. The bark of the young shoots is used for weaving.

Diseases and pests

The Morus rubra is prone to attacks by various types of pests, so it is important to be attentive to any sign that could cause alarm, as is the case of stem borers, the whitefly that feeds on the leaves, the bacterial blight that attacks and kills the tree’s foliage, anthracnose or canker produced by fungi.

Powdery mildew also produced by a fungus and is characterized by the appearance of a white powder on stems and leaves. This plant can also be attacked by pests such as scales, mites and bed bugs. Excess moisture can lead to root rot.

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