Zone
 
alba: 5/7/3
rubra: 5
nigra: 7
macroura: 8b/7
Pollination
  self-fertile (parthenocarpic), self-sterile (dioecious), self-fertile (monoecious)
Blooms
 
alba: varies widely
rubra: late
nigra: very late
macroura: very early
(in comparison to other species)
Chill Hours
 
alba: 300 - 500?
rubra: 0 to ???
nigra: 200 or less?
macroura: 0 to ???
pH
  5.6 - 6.5 (preferred), wide range (acceptable)
Yield
  1+ years (clone), 4+ years (seedling)
Tolerant
  high wind, poor soils, temporary flooding, drought.
Rubra can also tolerate shade and temporary flooding.

Native Range and Climate



White mulberries (Morus alba) are native to China.  I have not found any other details on their range, but based on their cold hardiness and ability to thrive in a semi-arid climate, I would guess that its predominately in the north.

Its range may seep into the southeastern section of China as well, where precipitation is quite heavy, since a few varieties are known to have enough disease resistance to thrive in a humid subtropical climate (Cfa).  However, hybridization could, at the very least, be partially responsible for this.

Red mulberries (Morus rubra) are native to the eastern part of the United States and are often seen growing as an understory tree.  The area primarily experiences the humid subtropical (Cfa) and hot summer continental climate (Dfa).  Rainfall can be between 0.5" to 5.5" per month throughout the year, but it generally reside around 3" to 4" during the grow season.

Black mulberries (Morus nigra) are believed to be native to the mountainous region Mesopotamia and Persia (Iran).  Other areas of interest include the Aegean region and Transcaucasia, but the exact location is unknown due to extensive cultivation in the fairly distant past.[1] They thrive in a hot summer mediterranean climate (Csa) and appear to tolerate the hot desert climate (BWh) quite well once established, but in the humid subtropical climate (Cfa), they are quite susceptible to disease and will fail to survive.

Shahtoot mulberries (Morus macroura) are native to the eastern Himalayas, the rainforests of Indo-China, and the islands of Sumatra and Java.  Most of the area experiences a tropical rainforest (Af), tropical savannah (Aw/As), or a humid subtropical climate (Cwa).  In Islamabad, where the variety 'Pakistan' was selected, the climate is humid subtropical with dry winters (Cwa).  The city also experiences fairly hot temperatures, with the average high in June rising above 100F/37.8C.  Morus macroura has also been grown in a hot desert climate (BWh) and other dry environments.  I am not sure how often they are irrigated, but it is implied to be infrequent, in comparison to most other fruit.  However, excessive water deprivation will cause their fruit to drop.


Fruit Color



The white mulberry species (Morus alba) does not necessarily produce white mulberries.  Most of them are black, but with the exception of Morus macroura 'Saharanpur', the only varieties I know of that produce white or lavender mulberries are Morus alba.  The red mulberry species (Morus rubra) generally produce black fruit as well.  The black mulberry (Morus nigra) is named after its large dark buds.


Disease



Popcorn disease, caused by the fungus Ciboria carunculoides, is one of the few mulberry diseases regularly mentioned in the US. While it will not harm the tree, it can ruin a large percentage of the crop.  It appears to only affect some Morus alba trees and a few of its hybrids, including the popular 'Illinois Everbearing' variety, but it is primarily an issue in the humid subtropical climate (Cfa).  'Silk Hope' is also a hybrid variety that produces good quality fruit similar to IE, but it has resistance to popcorn disease.

Leaf spot from bacterial blight or various fungi can be fairly common as well, but most varieties appear to be quite resistant.  Mulberry trees from the species Morus nigra are the primary exception.  They are highly susceptible to one or more leaf defoliating pathogens in wet climates, and it will eventually kill the tree.


Pests



The spotted wing drosophila (SWD) is the primary mulberry pest, but I have only seen a few complaints about them.  The earliest ripening varieties, such as Gerardi Dwarf, Kokuso, and a few others, should ripen early enough to avoid them, but results may vary by region or year.  I have seen a few reports about 'Illinois Everbearing' (IE) getting hit by SWD, but at what point in the season, I am not sure.  IE appears to ripen at least slightly later than most varieties.  In addition, mulberries tend to ripen over a long period of time, and IE is known for extending much further into the season than many others, which makes them more vulnerable to SWD infestation.

Root knot nematode can also be a problem, particularly in sandy soil.


Fruit Quality



Out of the various mulberry species, Morus nigra produces the best flavored berries, when harvested at their peak.  Differences between nigra varieties are said to be mostly unnoticeable. 

Morus alba berries have the least complex flavor, but some varieties, such as 'Sweet Lavender', can be very sweet.  Some believe the flavor of certain varieties, including rubra x alba hybrids, are highly reliant on the climate they are grown in, with wetter climates being unfavorable.  A lack of flavor, or a grassy flavor, may also be due to harvesting the berries too early.


Nutritional Values



Ascorbic acid ranged between 1 to 42 mg/100g FW, but it was generally around 20mg.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] Selections with a low level of acidity tend to have very little ascorbic acid, but a few exceptions have been observed.[3][8]

Total phenolic content ranged between 80 to 2575 GAE mg/100g FW.[2][3][4][5][6][7] The mean low and high (from every study cited with multiple selections tested) was 553.3 to 1075.1mg/100g, but the actual results were generally quite distant from this range.  They were either well above or well below, and it did not seem to correlate with climate.  When the phenolic content of Morus nigra was compared to alba or rubra, Morus nigra seemed to have the edge, but the sample size is quite small and all three had multiple selections with results in the upper and lower range.

In one study that compared Morus nigra (232 g/100g FW) to a few other berries known for having a relatively high phenolic content, the mulberry had a similar amount as the blackcurrant, but it had ~78% of the amount of the honeyberry, ~50% of blueberry and blackberry, and ~44% of the european juneberry.[9]

Elsewhere, Morus alba (1516 mg/100g FW) had a significantly higher phenolic content than loquat (199.4mg), strawberry (363.7mg), and asian plum (668mg) – three species that aren't known for regularly having a high phenolic content.[10]

In another study, Morus nigra was compared to 24 other fruit species.  The mulberry (174.9 mg/100g FW) had a higher phenolic content than 13 of them.[11] White currant (40.8mg) had the lowest amount and chokeberry (1013mg) had roughly double the amount as the second highest.
1. Where is the place of origin of Morus nigra (Moraceae)?, .
2.
3. Chemical composition of white (Morus alba), red (Morus rubra) and black (Morus nigra) mulberry fruits, .
4. Phytochemical and antioxidant properties of anthocyanin-rich Morus nigra and Morus rubra fruits, .
5.
6.
7.
8.
9. Phenolic Acid Profiles in Some Small Berries, .
10. Determination of total phenolic and flavonoid contents in selected fruits and vegetables, as well as their stimulatory effects on mouse splenocyte proliferation, .
11. Composition of Sugars, Organic Acids, and Total Phenolics in 25 Wild or Cultivated Berry Species, .



Read More

Mulberry
Morus spp

Gerardi Dwarf

Morus rubra x Morus alba
Zone
:
5a (4)   :   survived -19F in a Dfa climate (no dieback reported).
Ripens
🍏:
early   :   long harvest season (3 - 4 weeks)
Flavor
:
some acid present
Growth
:
dwarf
Fruit
:
~1.2" berries
Afflictions
:
Resistant to popcorn disease.

Illinois Everbearing

Morus rubra x Morus alba.  Originated in Illinois (1958).
Zone
:
4b   :   Those in 4a, but fairly close to 3b (based on the 1990 hardiness zone map), have had trees survive for a few years before they died off.
Blooms
💮:
late
Ripens
🍏:
early-mid?   :   long harvest season
precocious
Flavor
:
sweet-tart
Fruit
:
~1.2" berries
Afflictions
:
Susceptible to popcorn disease (not an issue in the north).

Miss Kim

Morus rubra x Morus alba.  Originated in Georgia (US).
Zone
:
6?
Blooms
💮:
mid?
Fruit
:
~1.5" berries?
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to leaf spot (less resistant than most varieties - may defoliate early in the deep south).

Oscar

Morus rubra x Morus alba
Zone
:
5a (4)   :   survived -19F in a Dfa climate (no dieback reported).
Ripens
🍏:
early
Flavor
:
sweet-tart
Fruit
:
~0.85" berries

Shangri La

Morus alba... believed to be a hybrid.  Originated in Naples, Florida.
Zone
:
7
Blooms
💮:
very early
Ripens
🍏:
very early?
Flavor
:
no acid
Fruit
:
~1.2" plump berries
Afflictions
:
Resistant to popcorn disease.

Silk Hope

Morus rubra x Morus alba.  Selected in North Carolina.
Zone
:
5
Blooms
💮:
late
Ripens
🍏:
early   :   long harvest season
Flavor
:
some acid present
Fruit
:
>1" berries
Afflictions
:
Resistant to popcorn disease.
Silk Hope performs better than Illinois Everbearing in the humid subtropical climate (Cfa) due to its resistance to popcorn disease.

Valdosta

Morus rubra x Morus alba?  Originated in Georgia (US).
Zone
:
7?
Fruit
:
~1.5" berries

Wellington

Morus rubra x Morus alba.  Discovered in New York.
Zone
:
5
Ripens
🍏:
early   :   long harvest season
Fruit
:
~1" berries
Afflictions
:
Resistant to popcorn disease.

White Mulberry
Morus alba

Beautiful Day

Discovered in College Park, Maryland.
Zone
:
6 (5)
Blooms
💮:
mid-late?
Flavor
:
very sweet, no acid
Color
:
white skin
Fruit
:
0.75" berries

Issai

Zone
:
5
Blooms
💮:
very early
Ripens
🍏:
very early?
Growth
:
dwarf or semi-dwarf
Issai is not recommended due to its lack of flavor.

Kokuso

Zone
:
4   :   supposedly hardier than Illinois Everbearing.
Ripens
🍏:
early   :   may ripen over a period of 1-2 weeks.
precocious?
Flavor
:
no acid
Growth
:
vigorous, but less so than Illinois Everbearing.
Fruit
:
~1.2" berries
Afflictions
:
Resistant to popcorn disease.
There is currently a split between people who think Kokuso is nearly as good as Illinois Everbearing and those who think it's a notch or two below.

Northrop

Originated near Potsdam in northern New York (1850's).
Zone
:
3b (3a)   :   The parent tree has survived -50F.   Young trees may experience severe dieback when exposed to less extreme temperatures.
Fruit
:
small

River View

Discovered on the Klamath River (probably in California).
Zone
:
3b?

Rupp's Romanian

Originated in Romania.
Zone
:
5?
Flavor
:
sweet, low acid
Fruit
:
~1" berries

Sweet Lavender

Zone
:
4
Flavor
:
very sweet, no acid
Color
:
white skin
Fruit
:
0.75" berries
Afflictions
:
Susceptible to leaf spot?
Sweet Lavender mulberries are very sweet, even when they first turn white.  There is no acidity and it lacks a berry-like flavor, but it's still more interesting than alba seedlings, in my opinion.  If you pick them while the edges are slightly green, it will have a grassy flavor.

Tehama

Morus alba?  Originated in Tehama Country, California.
Zone
:
7
Flavor
:
very sweet, no acid
Color
:
white skin
Fruit
:
~1.2" berries
Some claim over 2" fruit, but I haven't seen any evidence of this, outside of one potentially mislabeled image.
Tehama may produce male or short-lived male-like catkins when the tree is young.

Trader

Discovered in Barnes County, North Dakota. The original tree was propagated in the late 1800's.
Zone
:
3a   :   moderate tip dieback reported at -38F in a Dfb climate.
Fruit
:
~0.85"

Black Mulberry
Morus nigra

Black Beauty

Zone
:
7
Blooms
💮:
very late
Ripens
🍏:
mid-late
Chill
:
200 or less
Flavor
:
sweet-tart
Growth
:
dwarf
Afflictions
:
Susceptible to leaf spot.
The Morus alba variety 'Dwarf Everbearing' was regularly mislabeled as Black Beauty a few years back, but I don't think this is as much of a problem is it used to be.  Other Morus nigra varieties are occasionally mislabeled as well.

Generally, alba and rubra mulberries have a long, noticeable stem attached to the fruit, while nigra mulberry stems are so short, it's very difficult to see between the fruit and the branch.  However, Dwarf Everbearing has fairly short stems as well.  Some differences between the two is that Dwarf Everbearing has a poor flavor and ripens much earlier than a Morus nigra.  A few other difference between nigras, albas, and rubras can be found here, such as leaf texture as well as bud shape, size, and color ('Morus nigra' black mulberries are named after their large, dark buds.  It has nothing to do with fruit color.  'Morus alba' white mulberries and 'Morus rubra' red mulberries usually produce black fruit as well).

Noir De Spain

Zone
:
7? (8)
Blooms
💮:
very late
Ripens
🍏:
mid-late
Flavor
:
sweet-tart
Growth
:
semi-dwarf
Afflictions
:
Susceptible to leaf spot.
Noir de Spain may produce multi-lobed leaves, like a fig, for a year or two when the tree is fairly young.  Before and after this point, the leaves will generally be unlobed.

Persian

Zone
:
7
Blooms
💮:
very late
Ripens
🍏:
late   :   a week or so after Black Beauty and Noir de Spain
Chill
:
200+?
Flavor
:
sweet-tart
Growth
:
semi-dwarf
Afflictions
:
Susceptible to leaf spot.

Shahtoot Mulberry
Morus macroura

Pakistan

Selected in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Zone
:
8b
Blooms
💮:
very early
Ripens
🍏:
very early? (early)   :   over a period of 2 months or so.
Flavor
:
very sweet, fairly low in acid
Fruit
:
up to 4.5", average ~3"
Afflictions
:
Resistant to popcorn disease.
Pakistan is occasionally labeled as a Morus alba mulberry, but it belongs to the species Morus macroura.  It awakens from dormancy very early in the season, and in most of the United States, this will expose it to late frost, which will cause severe dieback.  There are a few Morus alba varieties that also awaken from dormancy quite early, but they aren't as sensitive to late frost and will generally experience mild damage.

It is difficult to tell how hardy Pakistan is due to its sensitivity to late frost, but it currently appears to be zone 8b.  In zone 7, the tree will die back to the ground (or a few feet above it), but if it had a chance to become established, it will survive and regrow if it's on its own roots.  In this case, however, it will not fruit.  Experimentation is not recommended, unless you reside in a climate where other species that awaken quite early can consistently ripen fruit, such as the average apricot, almond, and kiwi.

Saharanpur

Alias
:
White Pakistan
Zone
:
8b
Blooms
💮:
very early
Ripens
🍏:
very early? (early)
Flavor
:
very sweet, no acid
Color
:
white skin
Fruit
:
~3" berries
Afflictions
:
Resistant to popcorn disease.