I’ve spent a lot of time exploring my city by foot, but I still make new discoveries all the time. Today, it was a mulberry tree just outside of my neighborhood. I’ve probably walked past this tree hundreds of times without even noticing it, but today all of those ripe berries caught my attention, and boy, am I glad that they did.
I ran home to grab a bucket, and snagged all of the berries that you see above. There are still lots more berries to be had, if I can just figure out a way to get at them. Anyone have a bucket truck that I can borrow?
How to Find and Identify a Mulberry Tree
Mulberries are in season towards the end of spring and the beginning of summer. Here in the South, that’s now. Unlike blackberries and raspberries, which grow on canes, mulberries grow on trees. You’re most likely to find trees in residential areas, at the edge of the woods or along unruly fence rows, and they will almost always be near a water source (the ones that I picked were near a creek).
Mulberry trees have two types of leaves: lobed and unlobed. You’ll typically find both types of leaves on the same tree. Here are examples of both:
There are both red and white mulberry tree varieties in the U.S. Red mulberries darken to a deep purple-black color when they’re ripe (like blackberries). White mulberries turn white (with visible purple-black seeds when they’re ready for picking. Mulberries have no poisonous look-alikes, so they’re a good place to start, if you’re new to foraging.
Want to Verify Your Find?
Bring a sample berry and leaf to your local extension office, and they should be able to tell you what you’ve got.