=Habitat and Range.=--Banks of rivers, rich woods.
Canadian shore of Lake Erie.
A rare tree in New England. Maine,--doubtfully reported; New
Hampshire,--Pemigewasset valley, White mountains (Matthews);
Vermont,--northern extremity of Lake Champlain, banks of the Connecticut
(Flagg), Pownal (Oakes), North Pownal (Eggleston); Massachusetts,--rare;
Rhode Island,--no station reported; Conne
Plainville, North Guilford, East Rock and Norwich (J. N. Bishop).
South to Florida; west to Michigan, South Dakota, and Texas.
=Habit.=--A small tree, 15-25 feet in height, with a trunk diameter of
8-15 inches; attaining much greater dimensions in the Ohio and
Mississippi basins; a wide-branching, rounded tree, characterized by a
milky sap, rather dense foliage, and fruit closely resembling in shape
that of the high blackberry.
=Bark.=--Trunk light brown, rough, and more or less furrowed according
to age; larger branches light greenish-brown; season's shoots gray and
=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds ovate, obtuse. Leaves simple, alternate,
4-8 inches long, two-thirds as wide, rough above, yellowish-green and
densely pubescent when young; at maturity dark green and downy beneath,
turning yellow in autumn; conspicuously reticulated; outline variable,
ovate, obovate, oblong or broadly oval, serrate-dentate with equal
teeth, or irregularly 3-7-lobed; apex acuminate; base heart-shaped to
truncate; stalk 1-2 inches long; stipules linear, serrate, soon falling.
=Inflorescence.=--May. Appearing with the leaves from the season's
shoots, in axillary spikes, sterile and fertile flowers sometimes on the
same tree, sometimes on different trees,--sterile flowers in spreading
or pendulous spikes, about 1 inch long; calyx 4-parted; petals none;
stamens 4, the inflexed filaments of which suddenly straighten
themselves as the flower expands: fertile spikes spreading or pendent;
calyx 4-parted, becoming fleshy in fruit; ovary sessile; stigmas 2,
=Fruit.=--July to August. In drooping spikes about 1 inch long and 1/2
inch in diameter; dark purplish-red, oblong, sweet and edible;
apparently a simple fruit but really made up of the thickened calyx
lobes of the spike.
=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy in southern New England; grows rapidly in
a good, moist soil in sun or shade; the large leaves start late and drop
early; useful where it is hardy, in low tree plantations or as an
undergrowth in woods; readily transplanted, but seldom offered for sale
by nurserymen or collectors; propagated from seed.
1. Winter buds.
2. Branch with sterile flowers.
3. Sterile flower with stamens incurved.
4. Sterile flower expanded.
5. Branch with fertile flowers.
6. Fertile flower, side view.
7. Fruiting branch.
=Morus alba, L.=
Probably a native of China, where its leaves have from time immemorial
furnished food for silkworms; extensively introduced and naturalized in
India and central and southern Europe; introduced likewise into the
United States and Canada from Ontario to Florida; occasionally
spontaneous near dwellings, old trees sometimes marking the sites of
houses that have long since disappeared.
It may be distinguished from M. rubra by its smooth, shining leaves,
its whitish or pinkish fruit, and its greater susceptibility to frost.