Common Trees of the North Carolina Piedmont

Stephen M. Seiberling, Alan S. Weakley, and Peter S. White

Morus rubra L. Red mulberry. Family Moraceae. ITIS Taxonomic Serial Number 19070. USDA PLANTS Symbol MORU2. TROPICOS # 21300471.

Images • Branchlet with leaves 1. • Branchlet with leaves 2. • Individual leaf 1. • Individual leaf 2. • Individual leaf 3. • Individual leaf 4. • Branchlet with buds. • Close-up of buds. • Branchlet with staminate flowers. • Branchlet with fruits. • Herbarium sheet 1. • Herbarium sheet 2. • Herbarium sheet 3. • Herbarium sheet 4.

Detailed Description:

Plant habit and life style. Plants Angiosperms, dioecious, 5–20(–25) m tall, sap milky.

Stems. Pith continuous. Young twigs (1-year-old or less) brown or green or orange or reddish-brown, glabrous or pubescent. Twigs (2–4 years old) glabrous. Leaf scars half-round or oval or round, bundle scars numerous, stipule scars present, stipule scars circumferential. Bark of mature trunks flaky or furrowed or ridged.

Buds. Buds axillary or pseudoterminal, brown or green or reddish-brown, 3–8 mm long, ovoid, blunt or sharp, pubescent, ciliate or puberulent, bud scales imbricate.

Leaves. Leaves deciduous, simple, petiolate, alternate, (6–)10–18(–36) cm long, (5–)8–12(–15.5) cm wide, obovate or orbiculate or oval or ovate, leaf margins crenate or serrate or doubly serrate, unlobed or moderately lobed or deeply lobed, palmately lobed, leaf lobes 1–5(–7) per leaf, leaf apices acuminate or acute, leaf bases cordate or oblique or rounded or truncate. Leaf upper surface blue-green or green or yellow-green, glabrous or glabrate, pilose. Leaf lower surface green or yellow-green, pubescent, puberulent or tomentose. Leaf venation palmate. Petioles 1.4–3 cm long, glabrous or glabrate or pubescent, tomentose. Stipules present, 10–25 mm long, caducous, circumferential.

Flowers. Flowering March or April or May. Inflorescences axillary, catkins or spikes, flowers sessile or stalked. Flowers unisexual or pistillate or staminate. Perianth. Calyx radially symmetric, synsepalous. Sepals 4 per flower, calyx tubes 2–2.5 mm long, green, ovate, sepal apices rounded, pubescent, hirsute, persistent. Corolla absent. Androecium. Stamens 4 per flower, separate, filaments 3–3.5 mm long. Gynoecium. Ovaries superior, pistils 1 per flower. Gynoecium syncarpous, 2 carpels per flower, ovaries 1.5–2 mm long, styles 1–2 per pistil, placentation apical.

Fruits. Fruits accessory fruits or achenes or drupes or multiple fruits, (1.5–)2.5–4(–6) cm long, black or purple or red, fruit maturation 1 years.

Habitat. Habitat bottomland forests or disturbed and weedy areas or mesic upland forests or mixed forest edges or suburban plantings.

Special Diagnostic Characters. Leaves may be unlobed or with 2, 3, or occassionally 4–7 lobes; fruits are cylindrical clusters of achenes, each achene surrounded by fleshy sepals, the whole appearing somewhat like a raspberry.

Cite this publication as: ‘Stephen M. Seiberling, Alan S. Weakley, and Peter S. White (2005 onwards). Common Trees of the North Carolina Piedmont: Identification, Descriptions, Illustrations, and Glossary. Version: March 7, 2006. <>’.

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