How to Recognize: The only mulberry native to Canada, it is a short- trunked deciduous tree under 30 feet in height. The bark is reddish brown, separating in long, flaky plates. The yellowish green leaf blades are large, up to 5" long, widest below the middle and have hairy undersides. They are simple with pointed tips and the stems are long with 3 prominent veins at the base of each leaf. Male and female flowers are borne in separate clusters appearing with or before the first leaves. The fruits are dark red to black compact aggregates which resemble blackberries.
White mulberry is an Asian tree whose foliage is used for silkworm feed and has been introduced as an ornamental and is an escapee throughout eastern North America. It has lustrous smooth leaves and whitish or reddish fruit.
Where to Find: Southernmost Ontario in moist, rich soils often mixed with other hardwoods.
How to Use: Harvest easily by spreading sheets under the tree and shaking the branches gently. Juicy and sweet when ripe; delicious raw, in fruit beverages, or in baked desserts. Alone or in combination with acid fruits such as gooseberries or cherries. Can be frozen or dried like raisins. Use as in blackberry and raspberry recipes.
Warning: Be careful not to eat raw fruit before it is ripe. Unripe fruit and the milky sap in the leaves and stems are toxic and can cause gastric upsets. The leaves and stems may also cause dermatitis if touched by susceptible individuals.
published by the National Museums of Canada,