Mulberry species identification

This Morus nigra cultivar “Black Beauty” is produced by L.E. Cooke nurseries. The shrubs are grafted onto Russian Mulberry rootstock. I put it in the ground over a year ago and began training it. At the moment it’s about 5’ high - perhaps I’ll let it go to 8’ in the long run. It’s been dormant for the last 4 months and is just now pushing out new leaf buds.


Looks like my hydrangea!

Could you please possibly keep posting as it leafs out, and possibly, for no particular reason, point out how to tell it’s a black beauty? Some of us have little bitty mulberry from a nursery that gets trashed around here pretty regularly and aren’t entirely sure what we might have.

You know, some of me.

I will keep posting progress on all my plants for years to come :slightly_smiling:

For this plant, pictures will help you discern that it is Morris nigra. To discern whether it is the Black Beauty cultivar though, is a matter of tasting and biological tests.

As of today …

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same here, i cant really discern any morph/growth habit differences between my noir of spain, black beauty, and standard persian. Only thing am sure about is that they are all Morus nigra’s
and just by reading through the accounts of several in the forum, quite doubtful if nurseries(even those i thought were reputable) know their stuff, or if their stock labels are accurate.
i sometimes suspect the black beauty specimens bought years ago were merely grafted onto gerardis to enhance dwarfing tendencies(if dwarfing is even a desired trait for the slow-grower, lol), while the bigger ones were grafted onto more vigorous or taller albas—and all of the same cultivar of nigra

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For many retail nurseries, they are only as accurate as their supplier. And then there are a few that propagate their own and lie about them.

exactly. And sometimes, it could just be an honest mistake, as not many can tell nigras from other varieties, which is understandable.

and as for the other varieties, such as albas and hybrids, it is even more difficult, if not impossible to identify which from which.

Differentiating species (genotypes) has become surprisingly easy in the last half decade thanks to places such as Beckman-Coulter. Interspecifics (e.g. pluot vs. aprium) is still difficult unless exemplars are on hand. Cultivars (phenotypes) such as Black Beauty vs. plain female Morus nigra are still difficult or intractable by lab test alone.

and the outrageous polyploidy of nigras(reportedly ~300 chromosomes!?) definitely doesn’t help

It’s a feature of Moreae. At least it’s a perennial :slightly_smiling: . For entertainment, try Musa :smile:.

just as the seedless moraceae members are long-lived perennials, the seedless musaceae(most edible bananas) are too. The above-ground trunks may die after a few years or so, but the underground stems are virtually immortal(barring diseases) when propagating by cuttings. Seems like those extra chromosomes confer a great deal of longevity to nigras and certain musas. Additionally, musas, being monocots, cannot be grafted to young seedlings, making them ‘true to their age’ from head to toe.

Actually they are tropical annuals.

in a sense they are annuals or biennials, but those are just pseudostems which die off once they blossom/ fruiting has been achieved. Their rhizomes( where new growth/suckers develop) are perennial, if not virtually immortal.

The Musa pseudostem grows from a corm which the plant propagates asexually underground (or from seed in some cases). Once the stem flowers and the resulting fruit ripens, the stem dies along with the corm it grew from. Biologically, it is a tropical annual.

I’ve got some too posted here:

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i agree with your statement above. And that statement, in turn, is reason i beg to disagree re the corm dying being the biological end of life, because even if the corm died, the succeeding corms that were propagated asexually from the dead corm is nothing more than a cutting – a clone–and is thus at least as old as its source.
that corms are asexually reproduced (and serially ad infinitum), is a key phrase(at least to me) of the immortal nature of the clones/cuttings.
as i see it , corms which regress after fruiting are analogous to fruiting spurs in dicots which, at some point, regress and end up as inactive nodes. These nodes may have been rendered inactive , but the stem it is borne from may continue to live on, growing new fruiting spurs which will again, ultimately regress .

Rather than argue about this here please go to and discuss it with Gabe15. If from that you have further comment please post it in a new thread about Banana Morphology.

Any ideas what this might be?

When I planted it, I obviously took this for being a graft union but it could easily be where they headed a first year seedling:

looks like a male mulberry