Talkback: Mulberry trees

yes they do stain don't they! my hands are still purple from trying to pick them this morning in my local park in leicester, they are just starting to ripen but most tantalisingly out of reach! But a special treat when i did get some. will be heading back in the next few weeks....


  • I was visiting London Zoo yesterday and there is a spectacular specimen to see by the lovebirds and avaries.Had I known at the time what it was, I may have been tempted to eat one but now I do know I will taste next time. Live and learn.
  • The Mulberry tree has always fascinated me since I first learnt of its existence, sadly at the age of 23. My first sighting of one was in Forbury Gardens in Reading. Forbury Gardens forms part of the grounds of the great old Reading Abbey. I thought then how majestic and ancient it looked with its knarled and twisted bark and imagined that the old monks of the abbey planting it long ago aware of its healing properties. I was with my partner at the time, who was a botanist, and he introduced me to the Mulberry tree and told me that the fruit was edible. The sweet taste of the fruit was heavenly, we lingered eating its fruit, its red juice kissing our fingers, its protective branches sheltering us from the midday sun. The busy people of Reading rushed past appearing to be oblivious to its existence and wonder. Every part of the tree is edible and used in other countries for treating alignments. It has been over looked and gone almost unnoticed in the West ever since the 19th century because it is hard to exploit! Silk worms take too much time and its fruit doesn't travel. Mrs Mulberry allows you to take just as much as you need to satisfy your hunger. Isn't this a true spiritual teaching and a valuable lesson that we need to adhere too in the west if we are to survive.
  • I think that the mess is worth all the other benefits (so interestingly phrased by you, Vonoba). I had a client once who was so worried about stains and mess that he wanted me to fell a perfectly good mulberry tree. I refused and eventually managed to make him see sense!
  • Fruit can also be a problem when it gets on the soles of peoples shoes, so the black mulberry is not a plant to put near a path or entrance. The white mulberry is a graceful tree with beautiful autumnal colour and is more like to stay upright than the black which you often find has toppled over in ancient specimens and continued to grow from that position.
  • The joys of seeing this tree grow, watching the fruit magically appear, year after year, easily trump the temporary stains of fallen fruit.  The staining of fingers is a badge of bliss as the fruit is shared out.  If you have never tasted the fruit - plant a tree and the fruit comes quickly.  No room in your garden - guerrilla garden one then?

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