[NAFEX] Identifying mulberry species
lucky.pittman at murraystate.edu
Tue May 19 10:20:17 EDT 2009
I'd be more inclined to suspect that your 'unproductive' tree is
either a male(staminate) M.alba, or perhaps an M.albaXrubra
hybrid. M.rubra, in my experience, has very 'rough' leaves - almost
sandpapery, due to the hairs and their irregular surface.
M.alba - http://www.cnr.vt.edu/dendro/dendrology/Syllabus2/factsheet.cfm?ID=527
M.rubra - http://www.cnr.vt.edu/DENDRO/DENDROLOGY/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=58
Early in our orcharding endeavors, the wife ordered 4 'dwarf'
mulberries - I now suspect that they were just row-run M.alba
seedlings, perhaps from a 'dwarf' selection - 3 of the 4 were fairly
small-statured fruiting females producing tiny unappetizing berries -
even the birds didn't find them especially appealing; the fourth
plant was a very vigorous male that quickly grew to 15 ft before I
Broussonetia papyrifera(paper mulberry), when I've seen it - usually
growing around old homesites, or in older parts of town - rarely
achieves 'tree' stature - they're usually present as a thicket,
rarely surpassing 10-12 ft in height. I've seen photos of the fruit,
but have never observed, in person, a fruiting female plant.
I do know some folks who've eaten the fruits - my understanding is
that they're nothing like as tasty as a decent mulberry.
At 08:39 AM 5/19/2009, you wrote:
>I have several wild White Mulberries, and one similar, unproductive
>tree. The mystery tree has slightly hairier leaves, but the growth
>habit, leaf structure, and bark are identical to the other
>trees. This could indicate that it is a native red mulberry, but if
>that was the case I would expect it to produce berries like the
>other trees, since red and white mulberries can cross- pollinate.
>Is it possible that it is a Paper Mulberry? Do they look exactly
>like White Mulberries except for the berries and the leaf
>hairs? Paper mulberries are dioecious, so it could be a male tree,
>which would explain the unproductivity.
>Finally, are paper mulberries good to eat? The tree does a good job
>preventing erosion, I would consider getting a female paper mulberry
>if they are worth growing.
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