Morus alba

White Mulberry

Maple Grove Park, 1420 Columbia Avenue, Lancaster PA

 

Len Eiserer

 

White Mulberry rarely lives beyond 75 years; most trees die before 50. However, a tree that George Washington planted on February 28, 1785 still lives 233 years later [see last photo].   While it’s hard to be precise, the mulberry at Maple Grove is surely one of the oldest in Lancaster County (another old mulberry is at the Robert Fulton House in Quarry-

ville).  

 

Almost all of the Morus alba growing in Lancaster County today are thought to be offspring of trees planted early last century to feed silkworms, which in turn supported the silk industry (see 'Special Topics'). This Maple Grove tree, for example, may have sprouted from the droppings of some long-ago bird who feasted on the fruit of a local mul- berry orchard. 

See the entry on 'Maple Grove Park' for comments about mulberry leaves, whose form can vary de- pending upon the tree's age.  The third photo shows the old mulberry's leaves; the fourth photo shows a very young mulberry's leaves.

 

This amazing species releases pollen from its catkins at approximately 350 mph, over half the speed of sound, making it the fastest known movement in the plant kingdom.

 

[The silkworm photo is from Shutterstock.]