Description from Flora of China
Morus acidosa Griffith; M. alba Linnaeus var. indica Bureau; M. alba var. nigriformis Bureau; M. alba var. stylosa Bureau; M. australis var. hastifolia (F. T. Wang & T. Tang ex Z. Y. Cao) Z. Y. Cao; M. australis var. incisa C. Y. Wu; M. australis var. inusitata (H. Léveillé) C. Y. Wu; M. australis var. linearipartita Z. Y. Cao; M. australis var. oblongifolia Z. Y. Cao; M. bombycis Koidzumi; M. bombycis var. angustifolia Koidzumi; M. bombycis var. bifida Koidzumi; M. bombycis var. longistyla Koidzumi; M. bombycis var. tiliifolia Koidzumi; M. cavaleriei H. Léveillé; M. formosensis Hotta; M. hastifolia F. T. Wang & T. Tang ex Z. Y. Cao; M. inusitata H. Léveillé; M. longistyla Diels; M. nigriformis (Bureau) Koidzumi; M. stylosa Seringe var. ovalifolia Seringe.
Small trees or shrubs. Bark grayish brown. Winter buds conic to ovoid, large. Stipules linear-lanceolate. Petiole 1-1.5 cm, pubescent; leaf blade lanceolate to broadly ovate, simple or (2 or)3-5-lobed, lobes rounded to linear, 5-14 × 1-12 cm, abaxially sparsely covered with thick hairs, adaxially scabrous and densely covered with short hairs, base cuneate to cordate, margin serrate or entire and without subulate apiculum or seta, apex acute to caudate. Male catkins 1-1.5 cm, pubescent. Female inflorescences globose, ca. 1 cm, densely white pubescent; peduncle short. Male flowers: calyx lobes green, ovate; anther yellow. Female flowers: calyx lobes dark green, oblong; style long; stigma 2-branched, abaxially pubescent. Syncarp red to dark purple when mature, shortly cylindric, ca. 1 cm in diam. Fl. Mar-Apr, fr. Apr-May.
This species is closely related to Morus indica Linnaeus, and some authors have considered them conspecific. Varieties have been recognized on the basis of differences in leaf form, particularly the degree of division. Deeply divided leaves are characteristic of juvenile growth in a number of genera in the Moraceae and other families, and it does not seem advisable to give such material formal names, at least without more detailed population studies.
The bark fibers are used for making paper and the fruit are edible.
Limestone areas, forest margins, mountain slopes, fallow land, scrub in valleys; 500-2000 m. Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Liaoning, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, SE Xizang, Yunnan, Zhejiang [Bhutan, India, Japan, Korea, Myanmar, Nepal, Sikkim].