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Morus alba - L.

Common Name White Mulberry, Common Mulberry,
Family Moraceae
USDA hardiness 4-9
Known Hazards One report suggests that the raw fruit contains hallucinogens[62]. This fruit is frequently eaten in various parts of the world, there are even some named varieties, and no such effects have been mentioned elsewhere, nor observed by the writer when he has eaten the fruit. Possibly the unripe fruit was being referred to in the report, though even this would be surprising[K].
Habitats Not known in a truly wild situation.
Range E. Asia - central and northern China.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Morus alba White Mulberry, Common Mulberry,

Morus alba White Mulberry, Common Mulberry,

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Form: Rounded, Spreading or horizontal.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Morus alba is a deciduous Tree growing to 18 m (59ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant)The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.



Woodland Garden Secondary; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit;  Inner bark;  Leaves;  Manna.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Fruit - raw[2, 7, 158]. A sweet taste, but the fruit is usually insipid[3, 11]. It contains about 1.5% protein, 0.5% fat, 8% carbohydrate, 0.7% malic acid[179]. Fruits of the cultivar 'Pendulum' tried at Kew in July 1994 had a pleasant flavour[K]. A richer flavour develops if the fruit is dried, it can then be used as a raisin substitute. The fruit is up to 25mm long[200]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Per 100 g, the fruit is reported to contain 87.5 g water, 1.5 g protein, 0.49 g fat, 8.3 g carbohydrates, 1.4 g fiber, 0.9 g ash, 80 mg Ca, 40 mg P, 1.9 mg Fe, 174 IU vit. A, 9 ?g thiamine, 184 µg riboflavin, 0.8 mg nicotinic acid, and 13 mg ascorbic acid. Young leaves and shoots - cooked[105, 183]. A famine food, used when all else fails[177]. The leaf makes a good vegetable, it is rich in carotene and calcium[179]. Protein perparations from young mulberry leaves form an excellent supplement to protein-deficient diets[269]. The dry leaves contain 18 - 28.8% protein, 0.2 - 0.7% Magnesium, 0.8 - 13.6% soluble sugars, 0.6 - 1.4% phosphorus, 2 - 3.9% potassium, 1.4 - 2.4% calcium, 0.8 - 1.8% aluminium, 0.05 - 0.26% iron, 1.8 - 2.6% silica, and 0.3 - 0.56% sulphur[269]. The leaf also contains 10% tannin[179]. Inner bark - roasted and ground into a meal then used as a thickener in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread. A famine food, used when all else fails[179]. The tree is said to be a source of an edible manna[183]. Young shoots can be used as a tea substitute[183].

Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Fruit (Fresh weight)
  • 0 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 87.5%
  • Protein: 1.5g; Fat: 0.49g; Carbohydrate: 8.3g; Fibre: 1.4g; Ash: 0.9g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 80mg; Phosphorus: 40mg; Iron: 1.9mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 174mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0.8mg; B6: 0mg; C: 13mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes:

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Analgesic;  Anthelmintic;  Antiasthmatic;  Antibacterial;  Antirheumatic;  Antitussive;  Astringent;  Diaphoretic;  
Diuretic;  Emollient;  Expectorant;  Hypoglycaemic;  Hypotensive;  Odontalgic;  Ophthalmic;  
Pectoral;  Purgative;  Sedative;  Tonic.

The white mulberry has a long history of medicinal use in Chinese medicine, almost all parts of the plant are used in one way or another[238]. Recent research has shown improvements in elephantiasis when treated with leaf extract injections and in tetanus following oral doses of the sap mixed with sugar[238]. The leaves are antibacterial, astringent, diaphoretic, hypoglycaemic, odontalgic and ophthalmic[176, 218, 238]. They are taken internally in the treatment of colds, influenza, eye infections and nosebleeds[176, 238]. An injected extract of the leaves can be used in the treatment of elephantiasis and purulent fistulae[176]. The leaves are collected after the first frosts of autumn and can be used fresh but are generally dried[238]. The stems are antirheumatic, antispasmodic, diuretic, hypotensive and pectoral[176, 218, 238]. They are used in the treatment of rheumatic pains and spasms, especially of the upper half of the body, high blood pressure[176]. A tincture of the bark is used to relieve toothache[7]. The branches are harvested in late spring or early summer and are dried for later use[238]. The fruit has a tonic effect on kidney energy[218, 238]. It is used in the treatment of urinary incontinence, dizziness, tinnitus, insomnia due to anaemia, neurasthenia, hypertension, diabetes, premature greying of the hair and constipation in the elderly[176, 238]. The root bark is antiasthmatic, antitussive, diuretic, expectorant, hypotensive and sedative[176, 238]. It is used internally in the treatment of asthma, coughs, bronchitis, oedema, hypertension and diabetes[176, 238]. The roots are harvested in the winter and dried for later use[238]. The bark is anthelmintic and purgative, it is used to expel tape worms[240]. Extracts of the plant have antibacterial and fungicidal activity[218].

Other Uses

Biomass;  Dye;  Fibre;  Shelterbelt;  Tannin;  Wood.

A fibre is obtained from the bark of one-year old stems, it is used in weaving clothes etc[7, 74, 266]. The stem bark is fibrous and is used in China and Europe for paper making[266, 269]. The twigs are used as binding material and for making baskets[269]. A brown dye is obtained from the trunk[178]. The leaves contain 10% tannin[179]. This tree can be grown as a part of a shelterbelt. The cultivar 'Tartarica' has been especially mentioned[200], it is very suitable for northern latitudes and is much used as a sheltebelt in Russia[269]. The wood of the mulberry is a potentially excellent source of ethanol, with yields of up to 6% from sawdust treated with acid and then given four days incubation[269]. Wood - light to moderately heavy, hard, durable, fine and close-grained, though it shows a tendency to warp. Due to its elasticity and flexibility when steamed, it is valued for making sports equipment such as tennis rackets and cricket bats, being considered as good as ash (Fraxinus excelsior)[238, 269]. It is also used for boat building, furniture, agricultural implements etc[145, 149, 158, 269]. It furnishes a medium grade fuel wood[269].

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Contour hedgerow;  Agroforestry Services: Living fence;  Fodder: Bank;  Fodder: Insect;  Industrial Crop: Biomass;  Management: Coppice;  Management: Standard;  Minor Global Crop;  Other Systems: Dyke-pond.

Landscape Uses:Pest tolerant, Aggressive surface roots possible, Pollard. Succeeds in a variety of soils[269], though it prefers a warm well-drained loamy soil in a sunny position[1, 11]. Plants are fairly wind-resistant[200], though the branches are often killed back when growing in strong maritime exposure[K]. At least some cultivars are drought resistant, the form 'Tatarica' has been especially mentioned[183]. The white mulberry is occasionally cultivated for its edible fruit, there are a number of varieties[183] and sub-species varying greatly in the quality of their fruit. The form M. alba multicaulis. (Perretot.)Loud. (synonym M. multicaulis. Perretot.) has been specially mentioned for its fruit[105]. The cultivars 'Nana' and Fegyvernekiana' are dwarf forms only making shrub size[182]. The cultivar 'Pendulum' was seen growing at Kew in July 1994 with a heavy crop of tasty fruits, the first of which were just ripening[K]. 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]. This is a good tree for growing grapes into[20]. The grapes are difficult to pick but always seem to be healthier and free from fungal diseases[201]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Special Features:Not North American native, Naturalizing, There are no flowers or blooms.


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].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Morus alba multicaulisWhite Mulberry43
Morus australisKorean Mulberry, Aino Mulberry22
Morus bombycisKuwa22
Morus cathayanaHua Sang20
Morus macrouraHimalayan Mulberry21
Morus mesozygiaAfrican mulberry23
Morus microphyllaTexas Mulberry20
Morus mongolicaMongolian Mulberry21
Morus nigraBlack Mulberry53
Morus rubraRed Mulberry, Common Mulberry, White Mulberry32
Morus serrataHimalayan Mulberry21
Morus speciesMulberry40
Rubus chamaemorusCloudberry41


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

Dee Van Beek   Sun Mar 20 20:06:47 2005

We live in NW Washington State and are wondering where we might find either the Tahama white mulberry or the Hunza seedless or the Beautiful Day varieties. Can you help us with this matter. Thank you and I await your resonse. [email protected]

Michel H. Porcher   Wed Jun 16 00:57:53 2004

Latin and Worldwide Common Names From Porcher Michel H. et al. 1995 - 2020, Sorting Morus Names. Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database - A Work in Progress. Institute for Land & Food Resources. The University of Melbourne. Australia. http://gmr.landfood.unimelb.edu.au/Plantnames/Sorting/Morus.html (2004).

Link: Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database for Morus alba, Morus australis, Morus bombycis, Morus cathayana, Morus mongolica, Morus nigra, Morus rubra, Morus tiliaefolia

Explores the use of Morus alba leaves as a protein providing staple food.   Jul 10 2012 12:00AM

Perennial Staple Crops of the World

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