Photo of Oxford Botanic Garden
LocationRose Lane, Oxford
Variety Alba
OS grid referenceSP 52017 06034
Site classNotable, Veteran
Total mulberries2

A lovely old Morus alba, by the south wall of the walled (first) garden, next to the gate that opens onto the next part of the garden. This may be the oldest surviving M.alba in Britain. According to Oxford plant scientist Stephen Harris the tree "is a remnant of John Sibthorp's rearrangement of the Garden at the end of the eighteenth century." so about 200+ years old. This specimen looks very much like an old black mulberry, but the leaves are glossier, less heart-shaped and less coarse to the touch. There is an effigy of the Cheshire cat in one of the branches - although the tree that inspired this part of Lewis Carol's Alice in Wonderland was more likely a horse chestnut in the Deanery Garden of Christ Church College. The oldest black mulberry in Oxford is probably one in Garden Quad at Balliol, planted in 1609. There 4 other black mulberries in Balliol (2 in Garden quad and 2 in Fellow's quad). There is a fine black mulberry in Trinity (next door to Balliol), another 400 year-old black mulberry in Merton College and a younger specimen next to it (both in the Fellows' Garden).

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