Broussonetia papyrifera (L.) Vent.

paper mulberry
Moraceae
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Broussonetia papyrifera
Elena Torres & Santiago Moreno
Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

Broussonetia papyrifera: Appearance of a young specimen in spring and summer

Appearance of a young specimen in spring and summerBranch with leaves that are rough on the upper surface and smooth and velvety beneath; the specimen in the picture is a male (as shown by the catkin that is visible in the lower part)Branch with several long, cylindrical, woolly hanging male catkins
Etymology

Broussonetia: After P. M. A. Broussonet, a French botanist from the 18th century

papyrifer, -a, -um: paper bearing

Description

Habit: Deciduous, dioecious tree 5-15(20) m tall that contains latex; the crown is broad and rounded; trunk bark is grayish and tends to be fissured.

Leaves: alternate, deciduous, simple, stipulate, petiolate; blade 6-18 cm long x 5-10 cm wide, ovate, somewhat asymmetrical at the base, undivided or 3-5-lobed, the central lobe narrowing towards the base, with crenate-dentate margins and densely pubescent, especially on the abaxial side.

Flowers: unisexual, actinomorphic, small, inconspicuous, with a 4-lobed gamosepalous calyx; male flowers arranged in long spikes 3-8 cm long, with 4 stamens; female flowers arranged in globose flower heads 1-2 cm in diam., purplish; calyx accrescent; gynoecium syncarpous, 2-carpellate, with a superior ovary and a long, slender stigma.

Fruit: drupe; the drupes of the flower head are fused and form an orange-red globose inflorescence or syncarp 2-3 cm in diam.

Phenology

It flowers in spring.

Geographic origin

Native to C and E Asia.

Observations

It is hardy and fast growing but can behave as an invasive. The phloem fibres of the bark are used in the Far East to make high-quality paper; they are also used to make a cloth for ceremonial use in Polynesia. The timber is used for woodturning. It has several uses in tradicional Chinese medicine.

It is propagated from seeds, hardwood cuttings or root suckers.

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