The Magic Mulberry Tree

Last Updated on 7 May 2024

Somewhere in the lush nature reserves of Singapore, you’ll find the White Mulberry (Morus alba) – also known as Silkworm Mulberry – scattered all around. It’s like a fruity buffet for the birds and other critters, because of its juicy, irresistible fruits.

Originally from China, this mulberry has made itself right at home in Singapore, adding a touch of history to our green spaces. Back in the day, its leaves were a hit with silkworms, hence the name. The leaves of the Silkworm Mulberry or White Mulberry were cultivated to feed these voracious worms, which produced fine luscious silk. While silk production might not be booming anymore, the mulberry’s legacy lives on.

Now, this tree isn’t picky about where it grows – it thrives in everything from tropical heat to cooler climates. And it’s not just the fruit that’s useful. The leaves can be dried and brewed into a tea, perfect for a relaxing sip. But let’s talk about those fruits – they start off green and end up white, pink, or purple as they ripen. Sweet, juicy, and totally snack-worthy, they’re a hit with both humans and critters alike.

Now, imagine strolling down Wallace Trail in Dairy Farm Nature Park when suddenly, you come across a mulberry tree in full fruiting mode. It’s like a bird party! For that reason, the tree is affectionately known among bird-watchers in Singapore as the “Magic Mulberry Tree”.

These are the birds we have caught – beak-bursting, eye-bulging – feasting on these fascinating fruits:

Blue-winged Leafbird (Chloropsis cochinchinensis)

Greater Green Leafbird (Chloropsis sonnerati)

Asian Red-eyed Bulbul (Pycnonotus brunneus)

Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier)

Olive-winged Bulbul (Pycnonotus plumosus)

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma)

his freshly fledged juvenile

Swinhoe’s White-eye (Zosterops simplex)

Asian Fairy-bluebird (Irena puella)

Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis)

Pink-necked Green Pigeon (Treron curvirostra)

But watch out – those mischievous monkeys might crash the party and steal some snacks for themselves.

Even the squirrels can’t resist a nibble. So, next time you’re out and about, keep an eye out for these magic mulberry trees – they’re always full of surprises!