Difficulty
  mulberries require minimal effort to manage.
∙ early ripening
∙ disease resistant varieties
∙ moderately wet climate
Bloom
 
alba and hybrids: usually late (varies widely)
rubra: late
nigra: very late
macroura: very early
Chill Hours
 
alba: 300 - 500?
rubra: 0 to ???
nigra: 200 or less?
macroura: 0 to ???
Pollination
  self-fertile (parthenocarpic), self-sterile (dioecious), self-fertile (monoecious)
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 is more adept to temporary flooding.

Native Range and Climate



White mulberries (Morus alba) are native to China.  I have not found any other details about 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 the 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.  The area primarily experiences the humid subtropical (Cfa) and hot summer continental climate (Dfa).  Rainfall ranges between 0.5" to 5.5" per month throughout the year, but it generally reside around 3" to 4" during the grow season.  Red mulberries are often seen growing as an understory tree.

Black mulberries (Morus nigra) are believed to be native to the mountainous region of 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 the 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 the 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 been grown in the 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 species).  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 produce black fruit, but with the exception of Morus macroura 'Saharanpur', the only varieties I know of that produce white or lavender mulberries are from the Morus alba species.  The red mulberry (Morus rubra) produces black fruit as well, and the black mulberry (Morus nigra), which also produces black fruit, is named after its large dark buds that the other species do not share.


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 the problem may not be too common north of the humid subtropical climate (Cfa).

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 climates that are fairly wet, 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).  The difference between the few varieties that are available is said to be mostly unnoticeable.

Morus alba has 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



The ascorbic acid content of mulberries, from various studies, 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 supposedly been observed.[3][8]

Their 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 these values, 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 was 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 of 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 (4b)    ◦ survived -19F in a Dfa climate (no dieback reported)
Ripens
🍇
• early
• long harvest season (3-4 weeks)
Growth
• dwarf
Fruit
• ~1.2" berries
• some acid present
Afflictions
• Resistant to popcorn disease.

Illinois Everbearing

🔍
Morus rubra x Morus alba.  Originated in Illinois (1958).
Zone
• 4b
Blooms
💮
• late
Ripens
🍇
• early-mid
• long harvest season
• precocious
Fruit
• ~1.2" berries
• sweet-tart
Afflictions
• Susceptible to popcorn disease (not an issue in the north).

Those in zone 4a, but fairly close to 3b (based on the 1990 hardiness zone map), have had trees of Illinois Everbearing survive for a few years before they died off.

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.

Miss Kim appears to be less resistant to leaf spot than most varieties, thus potentially causing it to 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
Fruit
• ~0.85" berries
• sweet-tart

Shangri La

🔍
Morus alba    ◦ .  believed to be a hybrid.  Originated in Naples, Florida.
Zone
• 7
Blooms
💮
• very early
Ripens
🍇
• very early?
Fruit
• ~1.2" plump berries
• no acid
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
Fruit
• >1" berries
• some acid present
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.  It also appears to ripen earlier, which helps avoid problems with the spotted wing drosophila.  There are other varieties that have these advantages over IE as well.

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?
Color
• white skin
Fruit
• 0.75" berries
• very sweet, no acid

Issai

🔍
Zone
• 5
Blooms
💮
• very early
Ripens
🍇
• very early?
Growth
• dwarf or semi-dwarf

Issai is not recommended due to its lack of flavor and its tendency to awaken from dormancy too early for most regions in the US.

Kokuso

🔍
Zone
• 4    ◦ supposedly hardier than Illinois Everbearing
Ripens
🍇
• early
• may ripen over a period of 1-2 weeks
• precocious?
Growth
• vigorous — less so than Illinois Everbearing
Fruit
• ~1.2" berries
• no acid
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)
Fruit
• small

The original Northrop tree has survived temperatures as low as -50F, but younger trees may experience severe dieback when exposed to those that are less extreme.

River View

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

Rupp's Romanian

🔍
Originated in Romania
Zone
• 5?
Fruit
• ~1" berries
• sweet, low acid

Sweet Lavender

🔍
Zone
• 4
Color
• white skin
Fruit
• 0.75" berries
• very sweet, no acid
Afflictions
• Susceptible to leaf spot?

'Sweet Lavender' mulberries are very sweet, even when they first turn white.  There is no detectable acid content and it lacks a berry-like flavor, but it's still more interesting than alba seedlings.  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
Color
• white skin
Fruit
• ~1.2" berries
• very sweet, no acid

Tehama may produce male or short-lived male-like catkins when the tree is young. 
Some claim Tehama can produce berries that are over 2" in length, but I haven't seen any evidence of this outside of one potentially mislabeled image.

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
• 200 chill hours or less
Blooms
💮
• very late
Ripens
🍇
• mid-late
Growth
• low vigor
Fruit
• sweet-tart
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 as 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 the stems on nigra mulberries are so short it's difficult to see.  However, Dwarf Everbearing has short stems as well.  Some differences between the two is that Dwarf Everbearing has a poor flavor and ripens much earlier than Morus nigra.  A few other differences between nigras, albas, and rubras can be found here, such as leaf texture, 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
Growth
• moderately-low vigor
Fruit
• sweet-tart
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
• 200+? chill hours
Blooms
💮
• very late
Ripens
🍇
• late    ◦ a week or so after Black Beauty and Noir de Spain
Growth
• moderately-low vigor
Fruit
• sweet-tart
Afflictions
• Susceptible to leaf spot.

Shahtoot Mulberry: Morus macroura

Pakistan

🔍
Selected in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Zone
• 8b
• low chill
Blooms
💮
• very early
Ripens
🍇
• very early? (early)
• harvest may last 2 months or so
Fruit
• up to 4.5" (average ~3")
• very sweet, fairly low in acid
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 variety.

Saharanpur

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