Mulberry (Morus species)

Mulberry berries (click to enlarge)The Mulberry tree has alternate, simple, often lobed leaves with rough surfaces.  The tree rarely grows over 33-49 feet tall.  The leaves are alternately arranged, simple, often lobed, and serrated on the edges, and typically rough on top.   The flowers are held on short, green nondescript catkins.

Mulberry treeIts fruits are blue or black and many-seeded (i.e. multiple fruit) about 1 inch long.  When immature, the fruits are white or green to pale yellow with pink edges.  When ripe, the fruits are red, then dark purple, then black.

Where to Find: Mulberry trees are found in forests, along roadsides, and in abandoned fields in temperate and tropical zones of North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.  They prefer warm, well-drained soil.

Ripe Mulberry berriesEdible Parts: The fruit is edible raw or cooked. It can be dried for eating later.  The fruit is sweet and in some eastern varieties, very strong.  Unripe fruit (and the green parts of the tree) have a white sap that is intoxicating and mildly hallucinogenic and causes stomach pain and nausea.

The young, unopened leaves (cooked) and inner bark are edible in the White Mulberry Tree variety.  Once the leaves have matured and opened they are toxic and no longer edible.  Rinse the leaves and then boil for 20 minutes.

Other Uses: You can shred the inner bark of the tree and use it to make twine or cord.

A flowering Mulberry fruit

Unripe Mulberry berries

Ripening (left) and ripe (right) Mulberry berries

Mulberry fruit on tree

Lots of Mulberry fruit on the tree

Mulberry tree

Mulberry tree

Mulberry leaves

Mulberry leaves

Drawing of Mulberry leaves and fruit

Mulberry drawing illustrating the branches, leaves, and fruit

Color Mulberry drawing illustrating the branches, leaves, and fruit