Moraceae (Mulberry) Family
Photo courtesy Ann Biggs-Williams
The Red Mulberry is a small tree, usually 20 - 30 feet in height with a trink diameter of 1 to 1.5 feet. The trunk is usually short, and the stout spreading, and often crooked branches form a dense, broadly round-topped crown. Its preferred habitat is rich, moist soil and is most frequently found in bottomland or foothill forests. Distribution in the Escambia region is throughout, and is sometimes planted as an ornamental and to provide bird and human food.
The flowers are tiny, about 1/8 inch long, crowded in narrow clusters, male and female on the same or separate trees. Flowers occur in the spring as leaves appear.
The leaves are alternate, simple, ovate or oblong, occasionally 2 or 3-lobed, with a more or less heart-shaped base, and are abnruptly pointed at the tip. They are from 3 to 5 inches long and almost as broad. The margins are sharply and coarsely toothed. The upper surfaces are dark green and more or less rough to the touch. Beneath they are often slightly hairy. The leaf stalk (petiole) exude a milku sap when cut.
The stout juicy fruits are about 1 inch long, and somewhat resemble those of the blackberry in shape and color, maturing in May-June-July. The edible fruits are sometimes used for making pies, jellies, and summer drinks.