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Red Mulberry vs White Mulberry

These species are usually easy to tell apart if looking at a pure species, but they readily hybridize and form intergrades, and it may not be possible to identify all individuals. Red mulberry mostly occurs in mature bottomland forests whereas white mulberry is more likely as a pioneer species in disturbed habitats.

Red Mulberry (Morus rubra)

White Mulberry (Morus alba)

A tree native to eastern North America, threatened by hybridization with the introduced white mulberry.
A tree native to northern China; introduced in North America, where it is widely considered invasive and hybridizes with the native red mulberry.
Leaves much longer (4-7in / 10-18cm), always long-acuminate (tapering to a conspicuous, long point at their tip). Side-lobes, when present, are also acuminate.
Photo © Claire Secrist, Public Domain.
Leaves much shorter (3-4 in / 8-10cm), only sometimes taper to a long point at their tip; some leaves may look blunt-tipped.
Photo © Reuven Martin, Public Domain.
Leaves pubescent underneath, with pubescence covering all veins, even smaller side veins.
Photo © Nate Martineau, CC BY 4.0.
Leaves minimally pubescent underneath; there are sometimes sparse hairs on major veins, especially where they branch, but overall much less pubescence.
Photo © botanygirl, CC BY 4.0.
Much longer fruit, usually 2-3 cm long.
Photo © kent, Public Domain.
Shorter fruit, usually at most 2 cm long.
Photo © Hamilton Turner, Public Domain.
Bark grey. More scaly texture, with straight ridges.
Photo © askalotl, Public Domain.
Bark has a slightly warmer color, tan or brownish. Texture looks almost braided, with ridges that twist back and forth.
Photo © CK Kelly, CC BY 4.0.
Fruit often borne singly in leaf axils, spread out throughout tree.
Photo © John P. Friel, CC BY 4.0.
Fruit often borne in clusters.
Photo © Scott Loarie, Public Domain.
Foliage usually less shiny.
Photo © Abbie King, CC BY 4.0.
Foliage often very shiny.
Photo © Ira Gershenhorn, Public Domain.