Knowing when to pick a mulberry tree can be the difference between a thin, tart berry and a juicy, flavorful one. There are four species of the mulberry tree, each with its own timetable when it comes to ripening.
The species of the mulberry are white (Morus alba L.), American or red (M. rubra L.) and black (M. nigra L.). There are also many hybrids from the red and white species.
While all species of mulberry can be grown in warm climates, only a few fare well in cold climates. In the United States, red mulberries are hardy to subzero temperatures and white cultivars to zero temperatures. Black cultivars thrive in warmer hardiness zones.
The fruit from the red trees are a deep red, almost black color when they are ready to be picked. The black mulberries are ripe when they turn from red to black. The white mulberries stay white and are ripe when they become plump and juicy.
Red and white mulberries may be harvested in late spring. Black mulberries ripen in late summer. To harvest, spread a sheet on the ground and then shake the tree or individual limbs.
The mulberry isn't a true berry; it is an aggregate fruit. It is made up of many drupes, which are individual fruits.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Gordana Adamovic-Mladenovic
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