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A deciduous tree 40 to over 60 ft high in the wild with a trunk 3 or 4 ft in diameter. Leaves broadly ovate to roundish, heart-shaped at the base, slender-pointed, occasionally two- or three-lobed, toothed, 3 to 5 (occasionally 7 or 8) in. long, three-fourths to about as much wide, somewhat rough above with scattered stiff hairs, or the remains of them, very downy beneath; stalk 1⁄2 to 1 in. long. Male spikes 1 to 2 in. in length, slender and catkin-like; females 1 in. long; both downy. Fruit clusters 1 to 11⁄4 in. long, cylindrical; at first red, then dark purple, sweet.
Native of the eastern and central United States; introduced in 1629. In my experience this mulberry thrives the worst of those here mentioned. At Kew it always has an unhappy appearance, and I do not know of good trees elsewhere. Probably our climate is as unsuited for it as for several other trees from the same region. In the United States it produces a light, tough, durable timber, and, according to Sargent, is planted in the southern States for the value of its fruit as food for poultry and hogs. Several named varieties are also cultivated there for human use. It is distinguished from M. alba and M. nigra by the leaves being much more downy beneath.