Morus alba

Invasive species Disclaimer

In view of the fact that some tree species are invasive, the world Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) has put in place a policy document on Invasive Alien Species, currently under draft available at Here.

For more information on this subject, please refer to
100 of the World's worst Invasive and Alien Species.

Species Index    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Multiple Criteria Search

Abelmoschus moschatus
Acacia aneura
Acacia angustissima
Acacia aulacocarpa
Acacia auriculiformis
Acacia catechu
Acacia cincinnata
Acacia crassicarpa
Acacia elatior
Acacia erioloba
Acacia etbaica
Acacia ferruginea
Acacia glauca
Acacia holosericea
Acacia karroo*
Acacia koa
Acacia laeta
Acacia lahai
Acacia leptocarpa
Acacia leucophloea
Acacia mangium
Acacia mearnsii*
Acacia melanoxylon
Acacia mellifera
Acacia nilotica subsp nilotica
Acacia pachycarpa
Acacia pennatula
Acacia polyacantha ssp. polyacantha
Acacia saligna
Acacia senegal
Acacia seyal
Acacia sieberiana
Acacia tortilis
Acacia xanthophloea
Acrocarpus fraxinifolius
Adansonia digitata
Adenanthera pavonina
Aegle marmelos
Afzelia africana
Afzelia quanzensis
Agathis macrophylla
Agathis philippinensis
Ailanthus altissima
Ailanthus excelsa
Ailanthus triphysa
Albizia adianthifolia
Albizia amara
Albizia anthelmintica
Albizia chinensis
Albizia coriaria
Albizia ferruginea
Albizia gummifera
Albizia julibrissin
Albizia lebbeck
Albizia odoratissima
Albizia procera
Albizia saman
Albizia versicolor
Albizia zygia
Aleurites moluccana
Allanblackia floribunda
Allanblackia stuhlmannii
Allanblackia ulugurensis
Alnus acuminata
Alnus cordata
Alnus japonica
Alnus nepalensis
Alnus rubra
Alphitonia zizyphoides
Alstonia boonei
Alstonia congensis
Alstonia scholaris
Altingia excelsa
Anacardium occidentale
Andira inermis
Annona cherimola
Annona muricata
Annona reticulata
Annona senegalensis
Annona squamosa
Anogeissus latifolia
Anthocephalus cadamba
Antiaris toxicaria
Antidesma bunius
Araucaria bidwillii
Araucaria cunninghamii
Arbutus unedo
Areca catechu
Arenga pinnata
Argania spinosa
Artemisia annua
Artocarpus altilis
Artocarpus camansi
Artocarpus heterophyllus
Artocarpus integer
Artocarpus lakoocha
Artocarpus mariannensis
Asimina triloba
Ateleia herbert-smithii
Aucomea klaineana
Averrhoa bilimbi
Averrhoa carambola
Azadirachta excelsa
Azadirachta indica
Azanza garckeana
Related Links
Leaves and fruits.
© Arnoldo Mondadori Editore SpA
Silkworm larvae feeding on mulberry leaves.
© Boner A.
Pakistan Forest Institute mulberry plantation.
© Boner A.
Pinkish fruit and typical mulberry leaves.
© Ellis RP
The 'weeping' habit of the Pendula variety makes this a most unusual ornamental specimen shrub or small tree. Indigenous to China.
© Ellis RP

Local names:
Amharic (yeferenji injori), Arabic (tuth), Bengali (tut), Burmese (posa), English (white mulberry,mulberry,Indian mulberry,Russian mulberry), Filipino (amoras,amingit), French (mûrier blanc), German (Weiße Maulbeere), Gujarati (shetun), Hindi (hipnerle,r

Morus alba is a fast-growing shrub or moderate-sized tree with a fairly cylindrical, straight bole, up to 35 m high and 1.8 m in girth, without buttresses; bark dark greyish-brown, rough with vertical fissures; exuding white or yellowish-white latex.

Leaves very variable, ovate or broadly ovate, distichous, simple to 3-lobed, dentate, palmately 3-veined at base; stipules lateral, caducous, coriaceous.

Inflorescence axillary, pendulous. Flowers greenish, inconspicuous, with 4 free imbricate petals. Male flowers in a catkinlike raceme, with lax flowers; stamens 4, pistillode top-shaped. Female flowers in a long or short spike; ovary enclosed, 1-(2-) locular with a single ovule, style bipartite.

Fruit a syncarp, consisting of many drupes enclosed in a fleshy perianth up to 5 cm long; white, pinkish-white, purple or black.

It has been suggested that the generic name of the mulberry, Morus, was derived from the Latin word ‘mora’ (delay), from the tardy expansion of the buds. An alternative explanation is that it comes from the Celtic word ‘mor’ (black), referring to the colour of the fruit.


M. alba grows in areas with a subtropical or mild temperate climate. The shade-tolerant trees are highly susceptible to drought and inhabit ravines, valleys and coastal areas.

Native range
Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Myanmar, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam, Zanzibar

Tree management

To minimize competition, the plants must occasionally be weeded. Once in several years, the plant should be pruned down to regularize its shape and allow the growth of new shoots. The form depends on the height of the plant and the height at which the old branches are cut. M. alba requires protection against fire and browsing, to which it is susceptible. Plantations are managed by coppicing; in India, 20-year-old coppice shoots of M. alba showed a mean annual diameter increment of 1.5 cm and a mean annual height increment of 1 m. Early growth was very fast: 4.5 m in the 1st 2 years.

Seed storage behaviour is orthodox, with viability being maintained for several years in hermetic storage at room temperature; more than 3 years of hermetic storage at room temperature with 13-2% mc. There are about 1.1 million seeds/kg.

M. alba grows in areas with a subtropical or mild temperate climate. The shade-tolerant trees are highly susceptible to drought and inhabit ravines, valleys and coastal areas.

M. alba regenerates naturally through seed or coppice. Seedlings are pricked out when 10-15 cm tall. All but a few terminal leaves are stripped (‘striplings’) before seedlings are planted in the cold season or at the beginning of the rainy season. Scarification of the seed in moist sand at 5 deg. C for 30-90 days, or soaking in cold water for about a week, hastens and ensures uniform germination, and treatment with kerosene oil or camphor water protects them from ants.

The species can also be established by planting out nursery-raised seedlings (entire plants or stumps), rooted branch cuttings, budding, grafting and layering. It can also be propagated by tissue culture.

Grown on wastelands.

Erosion control: A useful species for stabilizing physical soil-conservation structures.

 Leaves are highly nutritious and contain vitamins B complex (except B12), C (200-300 mg/100 g), D and flavonols. They are sometimes eaten as a vegetable; fruit is eaten fresh or made into juice and stews.

Fodder: Leaves are used as fodder for livestock; up to 6 kg of leaves a day can be fed to dairy cows to improve milk yield. Shade-dried leaves incorporated into feed enhance health and egg production in poultry.

Makes medium-quality fuelwood with a calorific value of 4370-4770 kcal/kg.

Fibre: Wood yields sulphate pulp with satisfactory strength for white writing and printing paper; bark is worked in to paper pulp and fibre is suitable for the textile industry.

Timber: M. alba yields a medium-weight hardwood with a density of 670-850 kg/cubic m. Heartwood yellow or yellowish-brown, darkening to golden or red-brown upon exposure, sharply demarcated from up to 4 cm wide; white or pale yellow sapwood; grain straight, texture moderately coarse and even in the semi-ring porous material, uneven in ring porous material; wood lustrous at first, becoming dull with age, with attractive silver grain. In seasoning, the wood has a tendency to warp. It is easy to saw, work, turn, bend and finish, and it seasons well. It is suitable for house building, boats, beams, posts, flooring, bridge building, agricultural implements, cabinet work, furniture and turnery, especially picker arms, bobbins and tool handles; useful for spokes, poles, shafts and bent parts of carriages and carts; also much valued for sports equipment such as hockey sticks, tennis and badminton rackets, and cricket bats.

Shade or shelter: Recommended for shelter planting such as protecting orchards from wind.

Tannin or dyestuff: Contains about 32% tannin, suitable for tanning and colouring purposes.

Medicine: Bark is said to be good in the treatment of stomach-ache, neuralgic pains and dropsy; leaves and young branchlets used for treating heavy colds, cough, red eye, insect bites and wounds; fruit used in the treatment of sore throat, dyspepsia and melancholia.

Ornamental: Grown on roadsides and avenues as an ornamental tree.

Soil improver: The species helps in maintaining soil fertility through litter fall; lowers soil surface temperature.

Alcohol: Fruit juice may be fermented and used to make liquor.

Essential oil: Fruit contains cineole, geraniol, linalyl acetate, alpha-pinene and limone as major components of the essential oils.