White mulberry is found throughout the United States, and is especially prominent in disturbed locations. It invades old fields, urban lots, roadsides, forest edges, and other disturbed areas. It poses a threat to native plants by directly displacing them. It may also hybridize with native mulberry and may transmit root diseases to them.
White mulberry is native to much of Asia and was first introduced along the Eastern coast of the United States during colonial times when there was an attempt to establish a silk worm industry in the United States. It was a plant with multiple uses, as a fiber used for weaving could come from the bark, and a brown dye could be obtained from the trunk. The wood of the plant was valued for its durability, elasticity, or flexibility.
Morus alba is a small deciduous tree that grows between 30 and 50 ft. tall. The alternate leaves are polymorphic, between 2 and 8 inches long and shiny with blunt teeth and heart-shaped bases. The bark along the roots, young bark, and the inner bark are frequently bright orange in color. Older bark becomes gray with narrow, irregular fissures. These plants flower during April with small, green and occur in 1-2 inch long catkins. The plants are typically dioeccious, with males and females being seperate plants. The fruits of the plants are multi-seeded berries that are black to pink to white when ripe.
The white mulberry can grow in a variety of soil conditions. It thrives best in a warm, moist, well-drained soil in a sunny position. Once established, this plant can withstand drought. Thsi species is also tollerant to salinity and is wind resistant. It is widespread throughout the Lower Hudson region.