Common mulberry – Morus alba

Common mulberry

Morus alba

Common Name:

Common mulberry

Scientific Name:

Morus alba

Alternative common names:

White mulberry,Silkworm mulberry


This introduced species has been widely cultivated in gardens for its fruit, and its leaves are also used to feed silkworms.On young, vigorous shoots, the leaves may be up to 30 cm long, and deeply and intricately lobed, with the lobes rounded. On older trees, the leaves are generally 5-15 cm long, unlobed, cordate at the base and rounded to acuminate at the tip, and serrated on the margins.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

Northern China

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA Category 3

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces

How does it spread?

The seeds are widely dispersed by birds.

Why is it a problem?

Outcompete and displace native plants, because of its high growth rate and great adaptability to adverse environments which allow it to establish and spread quickly.

What does it look like?

Leaves: Light green leaves with finely serrated margins which turn yellow in autumn.
Flowers: Small greenish flowers forming in cylindrical spikes appearing in spring.
Fruit/seeds: Juicy bulbous reddish-black edible fruits.

Does the plant have any uses?

Produces edible fruit, and leaves used for feeding silkworms. Birds eat the fruits.

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