Global invasive species database

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  • White mulberry tree (Photo: Forest and Kim Starr, www.hear.org)
  • Branch of white mulberry (Photo: Forest and Kim Starr, www.hear.org)
  • Fruit and leaves (Photo: Forest and Kim Starr, www.hear.org)
  • Fruit and leaves (Photo: Forest and Kim Starr, www.hear.org)
  • white mulberry leaf (Photo: Forest and Kim Starr, www.hear.org)
  • White mulberry (Photo: Forest and Kim Starr, www.hear.org)
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Common name
Russian mulberry (English), chin sang (English), mulberry (English), common mulberry (English), Chinese white mulberry (English), white mulberry (English), silkworm mulberry (English), chi sang (English), moral blanco (English)
Synonym
Morus alba , var. tatarica Ser.
Morus tatarica , L.
Morus alba , L. var. multicaulis (Perr.) Loudon
Similar species
Morus rubra
Summary
Morus alba, or white mulberry, is native to China and has become invasive in the United States, Canada, South America, and South Africa. It hybridizes with and replaces red mulberry (Morus rubra) in Ontario where it is endangered, and in the United States. M. alba is also known to displace native vegetation and problematic in urban and disturbed environments.
Species Description
Morus alba is a small to medium sized shrub or tree which may grow to about 15 m. It has a rounded crown, short trunk, and dense canopy with spreading branches. Its leaves are alternate, simple, broadly ovate, polymorhic, and have 3 main veins running from the rounded or notched base. They are shiny green on top, paler and slightly hairy underneath, coarsely-toothed, and measure 6-18 cm long and 5-13 cm wide. Its bark is light brown to gray and fairly smooth but becomes furrowed a the edges. M. alba is dioecious with male inflorescences being green and very tiny, occuring in long catins, while female flowers are inconspicuous and crowded in short spikes. Its fruits are cylindrical aggregrate \"mulberries\" which are white, purple, or pinkish; 10-19 mm long (Little, 1980; Invasive.org, 2010; USDA-NRCS, 2010; Pensker et al, 2009).
Notes
Morus alba is cultivated for use as a biofuel. Some of its invasive populations are believed to be the result of their escape from such cultivation (GISP, 2008). \r\n
Morus alba may occur as a tree or a shrub (Boyce, 2010).
Uses
Morus alba is the food source of silkworms. It was introduced to North America and locations throughout the world in attempts to start silk manufacturing. Morus alba escaped cultivation and established throughout the northeastern North America in the late 1800s. There is also an ornamental variety of M. alba that is commonly planted (Haber, 1998). M. alba has been cultivated extensively in East, Central, and South Asia for papermaking, silk and timber production, and medical materials (Wu et al, 2009). Its fruits may be eaten raw or made into jellies, jams, pies, and other foods (USDA-NRCS, 2010).
Habitat Description
Morus alba commonly invades old fields, roadsides, forest edges, urban environments, and other disturbed areas. It prefers a warm, moist, well-drained loamy soil in a sunny position. However it is adapted to coarse, medium, and fine soils and is described as having intermediate shade tolerance and medium drought tolerance. It may tolerate a pH range of 5.0-7.0 and rainfall between 30-60 in/yr. It can survive temperatures down to -27 °C and is quite salt tolerant once established (USDA-NRCS, 2010; Invasive.org, 2010; Burgess & Husband, 2004; Pensker, 2009).
Reproduction
Morus alba blooms in the early spring. Fruits are abundantly produced from the spring to the summer. Its seeds are vigorous and germinate readily (USDA-NRCS, 2010).
Pathway
Morus alba serves as the natural food of silk moths and has been introduced to many locations for use in the production of silk (Haber, 1998). Morus alba is cultivated for use as a biofuel. Some of its invasive populations are believed to be the result of their escape from such cultivation (GISP, 2008).

Principal source:

Compiler: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)

Review: Richard L. Boyce, Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Kentucky University

Publication date: 2011-01-20

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2018) Species profile: Morus alba. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=1559 on 20-04-2018.

General Impacts
Morus alba hybridizes with native species red mulberry, (Morus rubra), and displaces other native plants in introduced environments. M. alba is reported to rapidly replace and hybridize with the M. rubra in Ontario (see Species at risk in Ontario), where it is currently endangered, and in the United States (M. rubra is listed as 'Endangered' in the states of Connecticut and Massachusets and 'Threatened' in the states of Vermont and Michigan (USDA-NRCS 2010). M. alba and hybrids were evaluated to be consistently more fit than the native M. rubra in a laboratory study. M. alba can also transmit root disease to native M. rubra (Swearingen et al., 2004 in Boyce, 2009).\r\n\r\n

M. alba also outcompetes and displaces other native plant plants in the United States and South Africa because of its high growth rate and great adaptability to adverse environments which allow it to establish and spread quickly. It has been documented as being particularly problematic in urban and disturbed environments (Ayala et al, 2007; Burgess & Husband, 2006; Wu et al, 2009; Invasive.org)
For the status of Morus rubra see USDA-NRCS, 2010b.

Management Info
Preventative measures: Morus alba was determined to be a category 4 invasive in the Great Lakes States (Falck & Garske, 2003).
Morus alba is a Category 3 plant invader in South Africa and is not be allowed to occur anywhere except in biological control reserves (ARC-PPRI, 2006)
A risk assessment of Morus albas concerning its threat to Europe yielded a score of 25, which designates it as an intermediate risk (Weber & Gut, 2004).\r\n\r\n

Mechanical control: Morus alba can be pulled by hand. Other options include cutting the tree and grinding the stump, or the plant can be girdled (Swearingen et al., 2002).\r\n\r\n

Chemical control: The cut tree stump may also be painted with a systemic herbicide such as glyphosate to prevent resprouting (Swearingen et al., 2002).

Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Morus alba
ALIEN RANGE
NATIVE RANGE
  • china
Informations on Morus alba has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
Lorem Ipsum
Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Morus alba in information
Status
Invasiveness
Arrival date
Occurrence
Source
Introduction
Species notes for this location
Location note
Management notes for this location
Impact
Mechanism:
Outcome:
Ecosystem services:
Impact information
Morus alba hybridizes with native species red mulberry, (Morus rubra), and displaces other native plants in introduced environments. M. alba is reported to rapidly replace and hybridize with the M. rubra in Ontario (see Species at risk in Ontario), where it is currently endangered, and in the United States (M. rubra is listed as 'Endangered' in the states of Connecticut and Massachusets and 'Threatened' in the states of Vermont and Michigan (USDA-NRCS 2010). M. alba and hybrids were evaluated to be consistently more fit than the native M. rubra in a laboratory study. M. alba can also transmit root disease to native M. rubra (Swearingen et al., 2004 in Boyce, 2009).\r\n\r\n

M. alba also outcompetes and displaces other native plant plants in the United States and South Africa because of its high growth rate and great adaptability to adverse environments which allow it to establish and spread quickly. It has been documented as being particularly problematic in urban and disturbed environments (Ayala et al, 2007; Burgess & Husband, 2006; Wu et al, 2009; Invasive.org)
For the status of Morus rubra see USDA-NRCS, 2010b.

Red List assessed species 0:
Locations
CANADA
Mechanism
[1] Hybridisation
Outcomes
[1] Environmental Species - Population
  • [1] Alteration of genetic resources
Management information
Preventative measures: Morus alba was determined to be a category 4 invasive in the Great Lakes States (Falck & Garske, 2003).
Morus alba is a Category 3 plant invader in South Africa and is not be allowed to occur anywhere except in biological control reserves (ARC-PPRI, 2006)
A risk assessment of Morus albas concerning its threat to Europe yielded a score of 25, which designates it as an intermediate risk (Weber & Gut, 2004).\r\n\r\n

Mechanical control: Morus alba can be pulled by hand. Other options include cutting the tree and grinding the stump, or the plant can be girdled (Swearingen et al., 2002).\r\n\r\n

Chemical control: The cut tree stump may also be painted with a systemic herbicide such as glyphosate to prevent resprouting (Swearingen et al., 2002).

Locations
SOUTH AFRICA
Management Category
Prevention
Bibliography
37 references found for Morus alba

Managment information
Agricultural Research Council-Plant Protection Research Institute (ARC-PPRI)., 2006. Legislation on weeds and invasive plants in South Africa
Summary: Available from: http://www.arc.agric.za/home.asp?pid=1031 [Accessed 16 November 2009]
Boyce, R.L. 2009. Invasive shrubs and forest tree regeneration. Journal of Sustainable Forestry 28: 152-217.
Boyce, R.L. 2010. Invasive shrubs in Kentucky. Northeastern Naturalist 17(Monograph 7): 1-32.
Weber, Ewald & Daniel Gut., 2004. Assessing the risk of potentially invasive plant species in central Europe. Journal for Nature Conservation 12 (2004) 171�179
Young, C.C., Cribbs, J.T., Haack, J.K., Etheridge, H.J. 2006. Invasive Exotic Plant Monitoring at Homestead National Monument of America: Year 1 (2006). Natural Resource Program Center Fort Collins, Colorado.
General information
Anastasiu, Paulina & Gavril Negrean., 2006. Alien vascular plants in Dobrogea (Romania) and their impact on different types of habitats. Plant, fungal and habitat diversity investigation and conservation � Proceedings of IV BBC � Sofia 2006
Botton, Alessandro; Barcaccia, Gianni; Cappellozza, Silvia; Da Tos, Riccardo; Bonghi, Claudio; Ramina, Angelo., 2005. DNA fingerprinting sheds light on the origin of introduced mulberry (Morus spp.) accessions in Italy. Genetic Resources & Crop Evolution. 52(2). MAR 05. 181-192.
Burgess, Kevin S.; Husband, Brian C., 2004. Maternal and paternal contributions to the fitness of hybrids between red and white mulberry (Morus Moraceae). American Journal of Botany. 91(11). November 2004. 1802-1808
Burgess, Kevin S., Husband, Brian C. 2006. Habitat differentiation and the ecological costs of hybridization: the effects of introduced mulberry (Morus alba) on a native congener (M. rubra). Journal of Ecology. 94(6). NOV 2006. 1061-1069.
Burgess, Kevin S.; Morgan, Martin; Husband, Brian C., 2008. Interspecific seed discounting and the fertility cost of hybridization in an endangered species. New Phytologist. 177(1). 2008. 276-283.
Burgess, K. S.; Morgan, M.; Deverno, L.; Husband, B . C., 2005. Asymmetrical introgression between two Morus species (M. alba, M. rubra) that differ in abundance. Molecular Ecology. 14(11). OCT 2005. 3471-3483.
Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS), 2003. Invasive plants of natural habitats in Canada
Summary: Available from: http://www.cws-scf.ec.gc.ca/PUBLICATIONS/INV/14_e.cfm#targ38 [Accessed 16 November 2009]
Csiszar, Agnes., 2009. Allelopathic Effects of Invasive Woody Plant Species in Hungary. Acta Silv. Lign. Hung., Vol. 5 (2009) 9-17
Summary: Available from: http://www.nyme.hu/fileadmin/dokumentumok/fmk/acta_silvatica/cikkek/Vol05-2009/01_csiszar_p.pdf [Accessed 16 November 2009]
Ghersa, C.M., de la Fuente, E., Suarez, S., Leon, R.J.C. 2002. Woody species invasion in the Rolling Pampa grasslands, Argentina. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 88 (2002) 271�278.
Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW), 2007. Morus alba (Moraceae)
Summary: Available from: http://www.hear.org/gcw/species/morus_alba/ [Accessed 16 November 2009]
Grau, H.R, M.F. Arturi, A .D. Brown, P.G. Acefiolaza., 1997. Floristic and structural patterns along a chronosequence of secondary forest succession in Argentinean subtropical montane forests. Forest Ecology and Management 95 (1997) 161-171
Haber, Erich. 1998. Impacts of plants on species and habitats at risk in Canada. National Botanical Services, Ottawa.
Integrated Taxonomy Information System (ITIS), 2010. Morus alba L.
Summary: Available from: http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=19066 [Accessed 16 November 2009]
Invasives.org., 2010. White mulberry Morus alba L. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health
Summary: Available from: http://www.invasive.org/species/subject.cfm?sub=6050 [Accessed 16 November 2009]
Little, Elbert. 1980. National Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Trees-Eastern Region. Chanticleer Press, Inc. New York. 430-431.
Macdonald, I.A.W., J.K. Reaser, C. Bright, L.E. Neville, G.W. Howard, S.J. Murphy & G. Preston (eds.). 2003. Invasive alien species in southern Africa: national reports & directory of resources. Global Invasive Species Programme, Cape Town, South Africa.
Norris, William R.; Widrlechner, Mark P.; Lewis, Deborah Q.; Thompson, Jimmie D.; Pope, Richard O., 2001. More than a century of change in the Ames, Iowa Flora (1859-2000) Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science. 108(4). December, 2001. 124-141.
Penskar, M.R. 2009. Special Plant Abstract for Morus rubra (red mulberry). Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing, MI. 3 pp.
Summary: Available from: http://web4.canr.msu.edu/mnfi/abstracts/botany/Morus_rubra.pdf [Accessed 16 November 2009]
Starr, Kim and Forest Starr, 2008. Plants of Hawaii: Images Moraceae Morus alba White mulberry
Summary: Available from: http://www.hear.org/starr/plants/images/species/?q=morus+alba [Accessed 16 November 2009]
Taylor, P.E., Card, G., House, J., Dickinson, M.H., Flagan, R.C. 2006. High-speed pollen release in the white mulberry tree, Morus alba L. Sex Plant Reprod (2006) 19: 19�24.
Wu, Y., Liu, C.Q., Li, P.P., Wang, J.Z., Xing, D., Wang, B.L. 2009. Photosynthetic characteristics involved in adaptability to Karst soil and alien invasion of paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera (L.) Vent.) in comparison with mulberry (Morus alba L.). Photosythetica 47 (1): 155-160, 2009.
Contact
The following 1 contacts offer information an advice on Morus alba
Boyce,
Richard L.
Organization:
Director, Environmental Science Program
Address:
Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Kentucky University, Nunn Drive, Highland Heights, KY 41099 USA
Phone:
859-572-1407
Fax:
859-572-5639