A mulberry tree, depending on the variety, can grow up to around 20 metres (70 feet) tall. From seed, the tree needs about 10 years before it starts bearing fruit. The flowers are not very spectacular: the BBC’s “Plant Finder” database refers to them as “inconspicuous.” They are called “catkins”; they look something like a sheep’s tail. Male catkins are longer than female ones.
Though there are varieties of mulberry trees that don’t produce any fruit, most produce fruit in abundance and without much effort, because the flowers can be pollinated by the wind.
Mulberries aren’t actually berries botanically; like a raspberry, each mulberry is actually a cluster of tiny fruit. The fruit looks somewhat like blackberries, ranging in colour from dark red to black. They are very fragile and can crush easily.
Fruit from the Himalayan Mulberry (“Morus macroura”) can be close to 5 cm (two inches) long.
In Asia, Mulberry Trees are mostly grown for their leaves, to feed to silkworms. There are more agricultural stats on harvests of mulberry leaves than there are of mulberry berries.
Mulberries are not sold in markets. They are such a soft fruit that they would not survive harvesting, packaging and shipping, without some expense, and historically there hasn’t been a market demand for them.
To make Mulberry Wine, mulberries are usually mixed with grapes for flavour and body. The Mulberry Wine needs to be stored in dark bottles in dark places because its colour is very sensitive to light.
The Black Mulberry (“morus nigra”) has larger fruit that has somewhat more taste than other mulberries. The fruit ripens from green to red to dark purple.
The tree can grow up to 20 metres (70 feet tall), but usually stays around 9 metres (30 feet). The Black Mulberry trees are native to Asia, but have been grown in Europe for hundreds of years.
Red Mulberry (“morus rubra”) is native to Eastern North America. In some places it is listed as a threatened species. The berries ripen to red.
The White Mulberry tree (“morus alba”), is sometimes referred to as the North American Mulberry. This is a sign of its success: it’s actually native to China, but it has become so naturalized in North America that some think it is indigenous. In fact, it has done so well that in some spots it is treated as an invasive weed. People don’t seem to mind the tree itself, but all up and down and across the continent this is the tree that grows wild along property lines and whose fruit stains driveways, patios and kitchen floors, as kids and dogs track it into the house. The fruit ripens from green to red to purple and then black.
White Mulberry trees grow up to about 10 metres (35 feet) tall and 13 metrres (40 feet) wide. A single tree can have up to three different leaf shapes on it: heart-shaped, lobed or shaped like a child’s mitten.
This is the variety used in China to grow silkworms on.
Use mulberries as you would blackberries or raspberries. Mulberries will stain concrete and counter tops with ease, so exercise caution.
Many tiny insects are often amongst the clusters; soak briefly in water first before using to flood them out.
Some people eat the berries fresh.
1 1/2 gallons of Mulberries = 1 gallon of juice.