Red Mulberry (Morus rubra)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Red Mulberry
Morus rubra

A cloth can be made from the fibrous bark[149].

Wood – coarse-grained, light, very durable, not strong, soft, rather tough. It weighs about 45lb per cubic foot and is used for boats, fencing and cooperage[46, 61, 82, 227, 229].

  • Medicinal Use

    The root bark is anthelmintic and cathartic[21]. A tea made from the roots has been used in the treatment of weakness, difficult urination, dysentery, tapeworms and as a panacea[222, 257].

    The sap is used in the treatment of ringworm[222, 257]. Another report says that the milky juice obtained from the axis of the leaf is used[21].

    The fruits are used to reduce fevers[222].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw, cooked or made into preserves[2, 3, 21, 62, 149, 183]. Large and sweet with a good flavour, the fruit can be up to 3cm long[200]. The fruit can also be dried and ground into a powder[183]. This is used to make a delicious confection with almonds and other nuts[183]. The fruit is soft and juicy, when fully ripe it falls from the tree and is easily squashed[227]. Unripe fruits can cause stomach disorders[226].

    Young shoots and unfolding leaves – raw or cooked.

  • Cautionary Notes

    Skin contact with the leaves or stems can cause dermatitis in some very sensitive people[226]. The milky sap in the leaves and unripe fruits can cause dermatitis, hallucinations and central nervous system disturbances[274].

Cultivation & Habitat

The seed germinates best if given 2 – 3 months cold stratification[80, 98]. Sow the seed as soon as it is ripe if possible, otherwise in February in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in the first spring, though it sometimes takes another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 – 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Plant out in spring. A good percentage take, though they sometimes fail to thrive[78, 113]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season’s growth, 25 – 30cm with a heel of 2 year old wood, autumn or early spring in a cold frame or a shady bed outside[78, 113,200]. Bury the cuttings to threequarters of their depth. Layering in autumn[200].
Prefers a warm well-drained loamy soil in a sunny position[1, 11]. The red mulberry is sometimes cultivated for its edible fruit, there are some named varieties[183]. It is said to be of no value as a fruiting tree in Britain[1, 11]. Trees come into bearing when about 10 years old, fruiting best between the ages of 30 – 85 years and declining from the age of 125 years[227]. A good plant to grow grapes into. The grapes are difficult to pick but they always seem to be healthier and free from fungal diseases[201]. Mulberries have brittle roots and so need to be handled with care when planting them out[238]. Any pruning should only be carried out in the winter when the plant is fully dormant because mulberries bleed badly when cut[238]. Ideally prune only badly placed branches and dead wood[238]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Dioecious[229] Male and female plants must be grown if fruit is required.
Eastern N. America – Quebec to Florida, west to Texas and South Dakota.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.