Silkworm Mulberry - Russian Mulberry
Moraceae (Mulberry) Family
Mulberry is naturalized small tree with rounded crown of spreading branches, milky sap, and edible fruit. Height is upward to 40 feet with a trunk diameter of about 1 foot. Its preferred habitat is warm drought areas; hardy in cities. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.
The leaves are in 2 rows, 2.5 to 7 inches long and 2 to 5 inches wide; broadly ovate but variable in shape; with 3 main veins from rounded or notched base; coarsely toothed; often divided into 3 or 5 lobes; long stalked. The color is shiny green above, paler and slightly hairy beneath.
The flowers are small; greenish, crowded in short clusters. Male and female flowers are on the same tree, occurring in spring.
Fruit is about 3/4 inch long; cylindrical; purplish, pinkish or white; composed of many tiny bead like 1-seeded fruits, sweet and juicy, edible; in late spring.
The tree is native to China. Widely cultivated across the United States; naturalized in the East and in the Pacific states. White Mulberry has been cultivated for centuries, the leaves serving as the main food of silkworms. It was introduced long ago in the southeastern United States where silk production was not successful. It grows rapidly and produces abundant berries that are enjoyed by birds and by humans.