Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Morus alba



Morus alba (mora)


  • Last modified
  • 22 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Morus alba
  • Preferred Common Name
  • mora
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • M. alba is a multipurpose tree widely planted in tropical, subtropical and mild temperate regions of the world for fodder and silkworm rearing, and for fruit and timber production (

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Morus alba (mora), habit, on farmland.
TitleTree habit
CaptionMorus alba (mora), habit, on farmland.
Copyright©K.M. Siddiqui
Morus alba (mora), habit, on farmland.
Tree habitMorus alba (mora), habit, on farmland.©K.M. Siddiqui
Morus alba (mora); sapling.
CaptionMorus alba (mora); sapling.
Copyright©K.M. Siddiqui
Morus alba (mora); sapling.
SaplingMorus alba (mora); sapling.©K.M. Siddiqui
Morus alba (mora); foliage and fruit.
TitleFoliage and fruit
CaptionMorus alba (mora); foliage and fruit.
Copyright©K.M. Siddiqui
Morus alba (mora); foliage and fruit.
Foliage and fruitMorus alba (mora); foliage and fruit.©K.M. Siddiqui
Morus alba (mora); nursery seedlings.
CaptionMorus alba (mora); nursery seedlings.
Copyright©K.M. Siddiqui
Morus alba (mora); nursery seedlings.
SeedlingsMorus alba (mora); nursery seedlings.©K.M. Siddiqui


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Morus alba L.

Preferred Common Name

  • mora

Other Scientific Names

  • Morus alba f. tatarica Ser.
  • Morus alba var. constantinopolitana Loudon
  • Morus alba var. multicaulis (Perr.) Loudon
  • Morus atropurpurea Roxb.
  • Morus indica L.
  • Morus multicaulis Perr.

International Common Names

  • English: mulberry; white mulberry; white mulberry tree
  • Spanish: morera
  • French: murier; Murier blanc; mûrier blanc
  • Arabic: tuth

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: amora-branca; amoreira-branca; amoreira-preta
  • Germany: Weisser Maulbeerbaum
  • India: ambat; chinni; hipnerle; kamblichedi; musukette; pippalipandu chettu; reshme chattu; reshms chattu; shahtut; shehtun; shetur; siah tut; tula; tut; tuticoli; tuto; tutri
  • Italy: Gelso bianco; moral blanco; morera blanco
  • Netherlands: moerbei, witte
  • Pakistan: chinni; shahtut; tut; tutri

EPPO code

  • MORAL (Morus alba)

Trade name

  • mulberry
  • tut
  • white mulberry

Summary of Invasiveness

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M. alba is a multipurpose tree widely planted in tropical, subtropical and mild temperate regions of the world for fodder and silkworm rearing, and for fruit and timber production (Gupta, 1993). Introduced M. alba has been found to be associated with invasion events in Oregon and Virgina (USA) and South Africa (Haysom and Murphy, 2003). It is also recorded as invasive in Brazil (Instituto Horus, 2011).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Urticales
  •                         Family: Moraceae
  •                             Genus: Morus
  •                                 Species: Morus alba

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The genus Morus (family Moraceae) contains about 10 species (Parker, 1956). Many cultivars have been developed over the long period of time that Morus spp. have been cultivated for leaf and fruit production (Gerasopoulos and Stavroulakis, 1997). For example, there are about 700 cultivars in Japan that are used for rearing silkworms. There has been confusion regarding the characteristics of M. alba at various times (Watt, 1972).


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A small to medium tree growing up to 15 m, M. alba has a short trunk, and a rounded crown with a dense canopy of spreading branches. Leaves are alternate, simple, 6-18 cm long, 5-13 cm wide, broadly ovate, dentate or lobed with 3 prominent veins running from the rounded or obliquely cordate base. Somewhat polymorphic, leaves are shiny green on the adaxial surface, paler and slightly hairy underneath. Bark is light brown to grey, smooth but may be furrowed. Dioecious, male inflorescences are small with 4 stamens, filaments inflexed in bud, green and borne on long catkins. Female flowers are inconspicuous, perianth with 4 free or almost free segments, aggregated in short spikes. Fruit is an ovoid or cylindrical syncarp composed of achenes, pendunculate, red when immature, blackish-purple, purple or greenish-white when mature, 1-2.5 cm long (Global Invasive Species Database, 2016; Tutin, 1964).

Two botanical varieties of M. alba are recognized (Zhou and Gilbert 2003): varieties ‘alba’ and ‘multicaulis’. The leaf blade of ‘alba’ is 5-15 cm, fruits are ovoid to ellipsoid, blackish purple when mature. The leaf blade of var. ‘multicaulis’ is <30 cm with cylindric fruits which are greenish-white to purple when mature.


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M. alba is native to central and eastern China, and is widely cultivated and naturalized elsewhere across the world, largely due to sericulture. In some areas M. alba is invasive, hybridizing with native species M. rubra in North America and outcompeting other native species in South Africa.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 17 Dec 2021
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Planted Reference Notes


South AfricaPresentIntroducedInvasivePlanted
TanzaniaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Zanzibar IslandPresentPlanted


-Jammu and KashmirPresent
-Tamil NaduPresent
-Uttar PradeshPresent
North KoreaPresentPlanted
South KoreaPresentPlanted


AustriaPresentIntroducedFirst reported: <1830
BelgiumPresentIntroducedFirst reported: <1850
Federal Republic of YugoslaviaPresentPlanted
Union of Soviet Socialist RepublicsPresent
SlovakiaPresentIntroducedFirst reported: 1720. First reported in wild: 1830
United KingdomPresent

North America

Costa RicaPresent
United StatesPresentPlanted


-Lord Howe IslandPresentIntroduced1870

South America


Habitat List

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Biology and Ecology

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M. alba is a rapidly growing deciduous woody perennial with a deep root system. Mulberry trees are either dioecious or monoecious, and a tree sometimes will change from one sex to another. High temperatures, strong light and long days favour maleness in mulberries, with their opposites, as well as high humidity, favouring the production of female flowers. Flowers appear as cylindrical catkins along with the leaves axillary on the current season’s shoots and on spurs on older wood. Pollination is not usually a problem because mulberries are wind pollinated, and some plants will set fruit without any pollination whatsoever. In China, M. alba flowers in April to May with fruiting during May to August.

White mulberry is grown in cool temperate steppe to warm to tropical, very dry to moist, forest life zones and can be grown in annual temperatures ranging from 6-28°C (Duke, 1983). It is the most cold hardy of the mulberry species grown for their fruit, though cold hardiness varies from clone to clone. The clone ‘Tartarica’ is tolerant of temperatures down to -32°C. M. alba prefers moist, well drained loamy soils in a sunny position. However, it will grow in coarse, medium and fine soils, has some shade tolerance and is moderately tolerant of drought. Once established, it is tolerant of drought (Duke, 1983) and of saline conditions (Global Invasive Species Database, 2016). It is liable to wind damage, but in India it is cultivated up to 3300 m in altitude (Duke, 1983).

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
40 -10 250 3300

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -28
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 21 37
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 9 19


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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration24number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall12002000mm; lower/upper limits

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium


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Worldwide M. alba is mainly cultivated for sericulture. China has over 400,000 ha planted for their leaves as silkworm fodder. Leaves are also used as fodder for ruminant animals and have even been eaten as a vegetable by humans. The bark can be used for paper. Ripe fruits are eaten fresh, used in desserts and cooking in pies and tarts, and also for cordials and jams. In Asia, southern Europe and southern parts of the USA, M. alba has been used for windbreaks, in landscaping, and their low water requirements and resistance to pruning makes them suitable for use as a street tree. In India the wood is used for cabinet work and sporting goods (Sánchez, 2002).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed
  • Invertebrate food for silkworms


  • Agroforestry
  • Boundary, barrier or support
  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Revegetation
  • Shade and shelter
  • Windbreak


  • Charcoal


  • Ornamental

Human food and beverage

  • Honey/honey flora


  • Carved material
  • Fibre
  • Gum/resin
  • Wood/timber

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Wood Products

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  • Boxes
  • Cases
  • Cooperage
  • Crates


  • Short-fibre pulp

Sawn or hewn building timbers

  • Carpentry/joinery (exterior/interior)
  • For light construction

Wood-based materials

  • Plywood


  • Industrial and domestic woodware
  • Musical instruments
  • Sports equipment
  • Tool handles
  • Turnery


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Ahmad I, Park KE, 1989. Mulberry Cultivation Techniques. Peshawar, Pakistan: Pakistan Forest Institute.

Benavides J, 1995. Management and utilization of mulberry (Morus alba) for forage in Central America. Agroforestería en las Américas, 2(7):27-30; 7 ref.

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Gerasopoulos D, Stavroulakis G, 1997. Quality characteristics of four mulberry (Morus sp) cultivars in the area of Chania, Greece. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 73(2):261-264.

Ghosh RC, 1977. Handbook on afforestation techniques. New Delhi, India; Controller of Publications, Government of India. 411 pp.; 11 pl., 4 maps; 379 ref.

Guha SRD, Madan RN, 1962. Chemical pulps for writing and printing papers from Morus alba. Indian Forester, 88(1):64-66.

Gupta RK, 1993. Multipurpose trees for agroforestry and wasteland utilisation. Multipurpose trees for agroforestry and wasteland utilisation., xv + 562 pp.; [18 pp. of ref + refs in text].

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Manian K, Nagarajan M, Padmanabhan G, Annamalainathan K, 1995. Influence of bio-regulators on biomass production in mulberry (Morus alba). Madras Agricultural Journal, 82(2):85-87; 8 ref.

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Oz, A. T., Ulukanli, Z., 2014. The effects of calcium chloride and 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) on the shelf life of mulberries (Morus alba L.)., Journal of Food Processing and Preservation, 38(3):1279-1288

Park KwangJun, Park KJ, 1995. Characteristics of several tetraploid induced by colchicine treatment in mulberry seedlings (Morus alba L. selfing Ist generation of Kaeryangppong). RDA Journal of Agricultural Science, Farm Management, Agricultural Engineering, Sericulture, and Farm Products Utilization, 37(2):759-765; 25 ref.

Parker RN, 1956. A forest flora for the Punjab with Hazara and Delhi. Lahore, Pakistan: Government Printing Press.

Petkov Z, 1995. Effect of some growth regulators on the germination of white mulberry (Morus alba L.) seeds. Rasteniev"dni Nauki, 32(7-8):149-152; 10 ref.

Porto, A. J., Costa, C., 2011. Postharvest storage systems for mulberry branches (Morus spp.), Veterinária e Zootecnia , 18(1):135-146

Quraishi MA, Ahmad M, 1971. New fungal records on Morus alba Linn. Pakistan Journal of Forestry, 21(3):303-312. [8 ref.].

Ramanjulu S, Sudhakar C, 1997. Drought tolerance is partly related to amino acid cumulation and ammonia assimilation: a comparative study in two mulberry genotypes differing in drought sensitivity. Journal of Plant Physiology, 150(3):345-35.

Royal Horticultural Society, 2016. Morus alba 'Pendula', weeping white mulberry

Sánchez, M. D., 2002. World distribution and utilization of mulberry and its potential for animal feeding., FAO Animal Production and Health Paper:1-9

Santhi P, Ponnuswamy K, Radha NV, 1994. Effect of foliar spray of micronutrients on different growth stages of mulberry (Morus alba Linn.,). Madras Agricultural Journal, 81(11):622-624; 5 ref.

Satiya Sharma, Mira Madan, 1994. Potential of mulberry (Morus alba) biomass., Journal of Scientific & Industrial Research, 53(9):710-714

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Distribution References

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Wang JiRui, Song ZaoQin, Du YuZhou, 2014. Six new record species of whiteflies (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) infesting Morus alba in China. Journal of Insect Science (Annapolis). 14 (136), 1-5.

Xie H H, Wei J G, Liu F, Pan X H, Yang X B, 2014. First report of mulberry root rot caused by Lasiodiplodia theobromae in China. Plant Disease. 98 (11), 1581-1582. DOI:10.1094/PDIS-03-14-0261-PDN

Zhang L, Li Y H, Zhang X M, Zhang Q H, Xian H Q, 2018. First report of sour rot caused by Geotrichum candidum on Mori fructus in China. Plant Disease. 102 (12), 2640-2641. DOI:10.1094/PDIS-03-18-0536-PDN

Links to Websites

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GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gateway source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS) source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

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