Mulberries Underfoot

White mulberry fruit (photo by Kate St. John)

It’s been mulberry season for two weeks now.  In our house it means we take off our shoes.

White mulberries (Morus alba) were imported from China in colonial times in hopes of starting a silk-making industry.  If you import the silkworms and their host, of course you’ll get silk.  Not!  The silkworms died but the trees did not.  They now hybridize with native red mulberry and are considered invasive.

On the plus side, white mulberries produce a lot of fruit for people and birds.  We make the fruit into jams and jellies, the birds lead their fledglings to the trees where they safely sit and eat.

The problem is the fruit is prolific and falls readily from the trees.  One tree in particular shades the sidewalk on our path through Magee Field to Schenley Park.  Right now the sidewalk looks like this.

Sidewalk covered in white mulberries (photo by Kate St. John)

The fruit is unavoidable even if you walk in the grass.  The berries squish underfoot (quite unpleasant!) and smash into the ridges on the bottoms of our shoes.  The juice stains the carpet if you don’t clean it immediately.

So we’ve adopted the Japanese in-house shoe tradition.  In mulberry season we take off our shoes.

(photos by Kate St. John)

4 thoughts on “Mulberries Underfoot

  1. Hello there!

    I’m with an organization looking to harvest mulberry trees around the city. I’m having trouble mapping out the location of this tree however! Would you be able to write back with any information about its location? I looked on Falling Fruit and don’t see any mulberries between Frick and Magee Park.

    All the best,

    1. Jess, some were cut down a year or two ago.
      UPDATE: check the Magee Field bleacher steps & the sidewalk inside the park that leads to the CoGos & Greenfield Ave just downhill from St. Rosalia School

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