Morus alba L.

Fully hardy, spreading tree with heart-shaped, sometimes lobed, leaves, to 20cm long, and ovoid, insipid-tasting white fruit, to 2.5cm long, ripening to pink or red, in late summer.  To 10m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Horticultural & Botanical History

The white mulberry is used for silk production and was possibly introduced to England in 1596.  [JD].  Saint-Hilaire Arb. pl.44/1824.

Morus alba, L. The White Mulberry-tree, China. This tree in several varieties provides the food for the ordinary Chinese Silk-insect (Bombyx Mori). Silk was produced in Italy already 600 years ago, and there this branch of industry has florished ever since. In China, Silk was reeled since 4500 years. This may demonstrate the permanency of an industry, which we wish to establish here extensively under a similar sky. “One pound of silk is worth its weight in silver, and this pound may be produced (so far as the food of the Bombyx is concerned) from 30 lbs, of Mulberry leaves or from a single tree, which thus may be brought to yield annually the material for 16 yards of Gros de Naples.” The White Mulberry-tree is of extremely easy growth from cuttings, also readily raised from well-matured seeds. It is usually unisexual, and attains finally a very large size. It can be grown in climes, where no longer Olives will thrive. Spots for Mulberry-culture must not be over-moist, when the leaves are to be utilized for the Bombyx.’  [Mueller - Select Plants (Exclusive of Timber Trees) readily eligible for Victorian Industrial Culture p.76/1872].  The white mulberry has also been used for centuries in Chinese Medicine.

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [T.686/1843].  The early trees grown in NSW appear to have been of inferior quality.  Macarthur wrote to John Bailey of Adelaide on 28th September 1844: ‘I am very much obliged for your having so kindly thought of the Chinese Mulberry. … Although I believe the mulberry is in the possession of various persons here I do not think there is a good variety of this in NSW, all the plants I have seen appear to be of some worthless wild sort, a known good kind is or rather was a great desideratum.’  [MP A2933-2, p.21].


Published Mar 18, 2010 - 03:37 PM | Last updated Jul 28, 2010 - 12:42 PM

Figured are toothed, ovate leaves and small, axillary, red-green fruits.  Saint-Hilaire Arb. pl.44, 1824.

Morus alba L. | Saint-Hilaire Arb. pl.44/1824 | BHL

More details about Morus alba L.
Family Moraceae
Region of origin


Common Name

White mulberry

Name in the Camden Park Record

Morus alba - White Mulberry 

Confidence level high