This section is from the book "Wayside And Woodland Blossoms", by Edward Step. Also available from Amazon: Wayside And Woodland Blossoms: A Guide To British Wild-Flowers.
It may surprise some of our readers to learn that the Mulberry-tree is not a native, though it is a familiar object in old gardens and parks. It is generally stated that the first Mulberry-trees were introduced in 1548 and planted at Syon House, Isleworth (then the Convent of St. Bridget of Zion), but the Duke of Northumberland is credited with saying early in the present century that he could then trace them back quite three hundred years. Several of this batch are still living, and one - probably the finest old Mulberry in England - is a hale and vigorous ornament to Mr. George Manville Fenn's lawn at Syon Lodge. Mr. Leo Grindon is of opinion that the tree was originally introduced by the Romans, for he finds that the Saxons had a name for it, which would probably not have been the case had it not been growing in their midst.
In this country the Black Mulberry does not reach a greater height than about thirty feet, its branches spreading out near the ground and attaining considerable thickness. The leaves are large and rough, heart-shaped, and very plentiful, so that the tree affords good shade. The flowers are small and inconspicuous, of a greenish-white colour, the sexes separate, though sometimes on the same tree. The male or staminate flowers consist of a four-leaved perianth, enclosing four stamens, a large number of the blossoms being combined in a catkinlike spike, depending from the axils of the leaves. The female spike is shorter, and the individual flower consists of a four-parted perianth, enclosing the ovary and its two branched stigma. After fertilization the perianth becomes plump and succulent, and all on the one spike become so pressed together by their great increase in size that they form a multiple fruit, having a slight resemblance to the fruit of the Bramble (the produce of one flower), but really differing from it greatly. Mulberries are ripe in August or September.