Morus alba from Virginia in SC

I found a few seedlings growing in our neighborhood last spring. I liked the leaf shape and didn’t know what it was, but since knew they were going to get mowed down, I took one home to pot up.

I still like the leaf shape, but the plant is now rather large, about 4′ tall, though not very wide. At first I thought it might be some sort of Mulberry, and we do have mulberries in the neighborhood, but shouldn’t the leaves of Morus be fairly variable?

I now think it might be Carolina Basswood, and wonder if you can ‘confirm or deny’ on the basis of the photos.

Thanks for your help,
Virginia

Hi Virginia,

This looks like a mulberry, Morus alba, to me. The teeth on the margin of the plant leaves are too few and too big for the basswood, plus the leaves are too shiny to be the basswood. Mulberry leaves can be variable when the tree is older, but it is not unusual for the young tree leaves to be unlobed.  Another feature which you may or may not have noticed is that mulberry trees, young and old, have distinctly yellow or golden yellow roots. Basswood does not as far as I know.

Sincerely,

Dr. Steven Hill, Botanist, SCNPS

One Response

  1. Virginia says:

    Yes, you’re absolutely correct—the roots are bright yellow. Gah! I’m glad I didn’t plant it out or allow it to fruit.

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