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.
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)