Synonym(s): Morus papyrifera, Papyrius papyriferus
Family: Moraceae (Mulberry Family)
Duration and Habit: Perennial Tree
Paper mulberry is a deciduous tree with milky sap that grows to a maximum height of about 45 ft. (15 m.). The twigs of paper mulberry are hairy reddish brown, the bark is tan and smooth to moderately furrowed, the wood is soft and brittle, and it has conical buds. The leaves are densely gray-pubescent, often lobed or mitten-shaped, and are alternate, opposite or whorled along the stem. The leaf margin is sharply toothed, the leaf base is heart-shaped to rounded with pointed tips, and the upper leaf surface is rough feeling. Separate male and female flowers appear in the spring. Male flower clusters are elongate, pendulous, 2 ? to 3 in. (6-8 cm) long, and composed of many individual flowers. Female flowers are globular and about 1 in. (2cm) in diameter. The fruits are reddish purple to orange, ?-1 in. (1.5-2.0 cm) in diameter, and appear in summer. Paper mulberry may be confused with the exotic white mulberry and native trees such as red mulberry, sassafras, basswood, and white poplar.
Ecological Threat: Paper mulberry exhibits aggressive growth and quickly invades disturbed lands, displacing native plants. It has a shallow root system that makes the trees susceptible to blow over during high winds.
Biology & Spread: Paper mulberry spreads both by seed and through vegetative expansion. The seeds are spread far and wide by wildlife who feed on the fruits. Paper mulberry expands locally by producing new plants from its roots.
History: Paper mulberry was known from Florida as early as 1903 and was widely planted throughout the Southeast as an ornamental and shade tree around dwellings. The inner bark has been used from ancient times as a source of paper and Pacific cultures used it to make barkcloth
U.S. Habitat: Paper mulberry thrives in open habitats such as forest and field edges, and in disturbed areas.
U.S. Nativity: Introduced to U.S.
Native Origin: China, Japan (AR); temperate East Asia to Polynesia (Bailey, L.H. and E.Z. Bailey, Hortus Third: A Concise Dictionary of Plants Cultivated in the United States and Canada, MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York , (1977).); NatureServe Explorer
U.S. Present: AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV
Distribution: Paper-mulberry occurs in twenty eight states in the Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest, and is reported to be invasive in natural areas in the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. It is also identified as an invasive weed in over a dozen countries around the world.
List All Observations of Broussonetia papyrifera reported by Citizen Scientists
A wide variety of native trees are available as substitutes for paper mulberry, including:
With the exception of one systemic herbicide used effectively by plant control contractors in Florida, little information is available on control of this plant. Manual and mechanical methods either alone or in combination with herbicide treatment are also possible.USE PESTICIDES WISELY: ALWAYS READ THE ENTIRE PESTICIDE LABEL CAREFULLY, FOLLOW ALL MIXING AND APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS AND WEAR ALL RECOMMENDED PERSONAL PROTECTIVE GEAR AND CLOTHING. CONTACT YOUR STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOR ANY ADDITIONAL PESTICIDE USE REQUIREMENTS, RESTRICTIONS OR RECOMMENDATIONS. MENTION OF PESTICIDE PRODUCTS ON THIS WEB SITE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ENDORSEMENT OF ANY MATERIAL.
Coile, N.C. 2001. A Paper on Mulberries and the Invasive Paper Mulberry. In: 16th Annual Symposium, Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council, ed. anonymous. September 11-14, St. Augustine, p. 18. (abstract).
Flora of North America. Volume 3. Broussonetia papyrifera http://www.efloras.orgflorataxon.aspxflora_id=1&taxon_id=104684
Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A Synonymized Checklist and Atlas with Biological Attributes for the Vascular Flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First Edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, NC.
Langeland, K. and R. Stocker. 1997. Control of Non-native Plants in Natural Areas of Florida. University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Miller, Lorraine. 2000. Paper Mullberry, Broussenetia papyrifera, Invasive Plant Species. USDA Forest Service, Southern Region, National Forests in Florida. Protection Report R8-PR 46.
Morgan, E.C. and W.A. Overholt. 2004. Wildland Weeds: Paper Mulberry (Broussonetia payprifera).
Small, J.K. 1903. Flora of the Southeastern United States. Pub. by author, New York. 1370 pp.
Swearingen. J. 2004. WeedUS: Database of Invasive Plants Affecting Natural Areas in the U.S. (in progress) http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien
USDA GRIN-NPGS Broussonetia papyrifera (L.) Vent.USDA Plants Database USDA, NRCS. 2004. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.
APWG WeedUS Database
Miller, J.H. 2003. Nonnative invasive plants of southern forests: a field guide for identification and control. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-62. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 93 pp
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