A sidewalk that looks like this means that you’re probably standing under a mulberry tree! (botanical name is Morus sp.) These telltale sidewalk stains caught my eye yesterday as I zoomed past on my bike, and I went back today to confirm (and eat). 😉
Twice so far this month, I’ve come upon delicious ripe mulberries as I have biked and walked in Colorado and Utah. On the particular species of mulberry tree I saw today, the black fruits are ripe, the red fruits are almost ripe, and the white fruits are the least ripe. (see photos) The birds love these too—a robin was snacking higher up in the tree today as I was finding the ripe fruits down below. It’s wonderful to me to know that I can eat wholesome food from trees right in my neighborhood!
Years ago I came across an online Geographic Information System (GIS) database where anyone could enter trees that they had identified and those trees would then appear on the online map. While I didn’t find that exact database on my search today, I did find a couple of others that are similar so you can get the idea: they are tree maps of London (Abundance London TreeTalk Map) and Washington DC (ArcGIS Trees Near Me). Each dot represents a tree, so if you click the individual dots on the map, you’ll see info about the tree that’s planted at that location. Isn’t that cool?!
Maybe you’ll be able to find a similar tree database for your area, or even create one! It occurs to me that a fun class project could be built around this: to go outside and identify some nearby trees, learn about their edibility and their usefulness to humans and other species (in addition to that helpful CO2-O2 exchange), then enter the tree data in an online tree database.