Paper mulberry facts and uses

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Paper mulberry

Paper mulberry Quick Facts
Name: Paper mulberry
Scientific Name: Broussonetia papyrifera (L.) Vent
Origin Native to East Asian countries
Colors Green when young and turns orange to reddish purple as they mature.
Shapes Round or pear-shaped, 1 to 1.6 in. (3 to 4 cm) in diameter and split into three parts to reveal a spongy, white inner surface.
The paper mulberry scientifically known as Broussonetia papyrifera, syn. Morus papyrifera L. is a species of flowering plant in the family Moraceae and like all members of that family it has sticky, milky sap. It is native to Asia, where its range includes China, Japan, Korea, Indochina, Burma, and India. It is extensively cultivated elsewhere and it grows as an introduced species in parts of Europe, the United States, and Africa. Apart from paper mulberry other common names include tapa cloth tree and pulp mulberry. It may be confused with the exotic white mulberry and native trees such as red mulberry, sassafras, basswood, and white poplar. It is important as a source of fiber for cloth and paper. Due to their shallow root systems, the trees are susceptible to being blown down in high winds.

Plant

Paper mulberry is a medium to large deciduous tree about 10–20 m tall (although exceptionally up to 35 m). The crown is round and spreading. It is a hardy, fast-growing tree and under favorable conditions in a hot, moist climate can attain a height of 21 m and a diameter of 70 cm. It is normally found growing in many subtropical and warm temperate regions and usually prefers sub-humid warm, sub-tropical monsoon climate. Similarly it requires moist, well-drained soil and has been unsuccessful when tried on poor soil. It prefers sandy loams and light soils. Stiff clay and hard laterite soils prevent penetration of the roots to the sub-soil, resulting in stunted growth. Its stout, grey-brown, spreading branches are brittle and susceptible to wind damage. The branches are marked with stipular scars. Young branchlets are subtomentose and shoots are pubescent when young. The bark is light-grey, smooth, with shallow fissures or ridges. The stem, branches and petioles contain milky latex.

Leaves

Paper mulberry has variable mulberry-like papery leaves. Some leaves are distinctly deep lobed, while others are unlobed. Several different shapes of leaves may appear on the same shoot. The leaves are alternate/subopposite, ovate, acuminate, dentate-crenate, their bases often oblique, scabrous above, with a woolly surface on the lower side. The leaves are 9.7 x 6.6 cm in size. The petioles are 3-10 cm long and the stipules 1.6-2.0 cm long.

Flower

Flowers of Paper mulberry occur in elongated, male spikes up to 8 cm (3.2 in) long and female axillary globose heads up to 2.5 cm (1 in) long on the separate male and female trees (although all trees in the tropical Pacific islands are apparently male.) Female flowers have two to four lobed perianth and a superior ovary with a filiform style. Male flowers have four valvate tepals and four free stamens with filaments inflexed in the bub. Flowering is unknown or infrequent over most of the tree’s distribution in the Pacific. Male flowers are normally yellowish white whereas female flowers are orange colored.

Fruit

Fruit of Paper mulberry is shiny-reddish, fleshy, globose and compound with the achenes 1-2 cm long and wide hanging on long fleshy stalks. The achenes are 1-2 cm long and wide.

How to Eat

  • Young leaves can be steamed or boiled.
  • The fruits and cooked leaves are edible.

Traditional uses and benefits of Paper mulberry

  • Leaves have properties to increase reduced blood cells.
  • Bark and fruit of the species, known locally as jangli toot, are used as a laxative and antipyretic in rural Pakistan.
  • Leaf juice is diaphoretic and laxative – it is also used in the treatment of dysentery.
  • It is also poultice onto various skin disorders, bites etc.
  • Root is cooked with other foods as a Galactogogue.
  • Bark is decocted for ascites and is used to reduce swelling or oedema and used for abdominal distension.
  • Juice is used in anuria.
  • Thrush, a mouth disease, is said to be improved when the ash from the burned beaten sheet made from the bark is applied to the mouth.
  • Using the latex is said to be useful externally for neuro dermatitis, tinea infection, eczema, bee sting, insect bites, and is also used as a vulnerary.
  • Leaves are used for blood in sputum, vomiting blood, uterine bleeding, excess menstrual bleeding, and bleeding wounds in Chinese medicine and for a bleeding stomach in Hawaii.
  • Leaves are also said to be astringent in “fluxes” and gonorrhea and are also used for dysentery, and enteritis.
  • Sap is described to remove pus in Chinese medicine.
  • Stems are used for skin eruptions in China.

Other Facts

  • Paper mulberry was used widely in the United States as a shade and ornamental tree, especially in the Southeast.
  • In China the leaves are fed to silk-worms and to pigs in Indochina.
  • Fiber from the bark is used in making paper, cloth, rope etc.
  • It was used for papermaking in China by around 100 AD.
  • It was used to make washi in Japan by 600 AD.
  • Paper made from the mulberry bush is called Hanji in Korea.
  • Wood of the plant is useful for making furniture and utensils, and the roots can be used as rope.
  • Timber from B. papyrifera, being soft and brittle, is used mainly in the manufacture of cheap furniture, match sticks, packing cases, boxes, plywood, building-boards, sports equipment and pencils.
  • It is also suitable for production of newsprint, writing and printing papers.
  • Bast fibre from B. papyrifera is used for tapa in the South Sea Islands and for special paper making, such as paper napkins, lens paper, cosmetic tissue and luxurious hand-made paper in Japan, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia etc.
  • Tender leaves and twigs can be used to feed deer.
  • When cut, the trees release a latex heavy sap which is extremely sticky and can ruin clothing.
  • Fruits are produced twice each year.
  • Tree produces a natural dye that is green to yellow-green in color, but the chemical responsible does not seem to have been determined.

Other Uses

Food

Paper mulberry can be used as a food for both human and animal consumption. The flowers and young leaf of the variety Brussonetia kurzii has a protein content of 16-21%, together with nutrient minerals such as P, K, Ca and Mg and is suitable for human consumption. The fruit comprises a ball about 1.5 cm in diameter with numerous small edible fruits protruding-there is not much edible flesh but it has been reported to have a lovely flavor.

Fodder

The leaves are used for feeding silkworms as well as pigs.

Fiber

It has been known for almost 1500 years as a plant whose bark can be used to make paper of various grades up to the highest quality. The inner bark (bast) fibers is used for tapa (cloth) in the South Sea Islands while in Japan, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia it is used for special paper making, such as paper napkins, lens paper, cosmetic tissue and luxurious hand-made paper. The male flower spikes of Artocarpus atilis are blended with fiber of paper mulberry to make elegant loin cloths.

Timber

The wood is light-colored, soft, greyish-white, even and straight grained. It is light, with a basic density of 506 kg/m3. The timber from B. papyrifera, being soft and brittle, is used mainly in the manufacture of cheap furniture, match sticks, packing cases, boxes, plywood, building-boards, sports equipment and pencils.

Tannin or dyestuff

The tree produces a natural green to yellow-green dye.

Medicine

It is said to be astringent, diuretic, tonic, vulnerary. The leaf juice is diaphoretic and laxative. The leaves are used for blood sputum, vomiting blood, uterine bleeding, excess menstrual bleeding, bleeding wounds in Chinese medicine and for a bleeding stomach in Hawaii.

Other products

Paper mulberry has properties of a pesticide where Helicoverpa armigera restricted in its pupation and adult emergence after feeding on B. papyrifera leaf powder. The xylem also contains an antifungal substance.

Erosion control

Paper mulberry starts itself quickly on denuded and degraded sites in the form of a thick tree cover, fixing soils and preventing further erosion due to its dichotomous root system.

Shade or shelter

It’s a good shelterbelt and windbreak

Soil improver

Mulch comprising of chopped leaves of B. papyrifera, applied at 4 ton/ha, improves soil moisture and phosphorus content, leading to increased crop production.

Paper mulberry facts

Paper mulberry belongs to the fig family, Moraceae, and like all members of that family it has sticky, milky sap. Paper mulberry is important as a source of fiber for cloth and paper. Due to their shallow root systems, the trees are susceptible to being blown down in high winds. The tree crown is broad and rounded; with wide-spreading branches Paper mulberry is a fast-growing tree, which often produces suckers from its roots. It is grown in many subtropical and warm temperate regions. It will grow on any well-drained soil, and performs best in a sheltered place in full sun. In India, leaves are shed between September and January and the new leaves appear in February or March. On average, the trees are leafless for one to three months. The flowers appear in March-April. The fruit ripens in the rainy season from July to September.

Name Paper mulberry
Scientific Name Broussonetia papyrifera (L.) Vent
Native Native to East Asian countries like China, Japan, Korea, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma and Assam (India), but cultivated extensively elsewhere in Asia and the Pacific, and naturalised in parts of southern Europe and the USA.
Common Names Paper mulberry, tapa cloth tree, pulp mulberry
Name in Other Languages Chinese : Gou shu
Danish : Papirmorbær
Dutch : Papiermoerbei
English: Papermulberry tree; tapa cloth tree
Spanish: Moral de la China; morera de papel; morera del papel; papelero
French: Murier a papier; mûrier à papier
Portuguese: Amoreira do papel
Germany: Papiermaulbeerbaum, Papier-Maulbeerbaum
Hawaii: Po’a’aha; wauke
India: Kachnar
Indonesia: Saeh
Italy: Gelso papirifero del Giappone; moro della China
Japan: Aka; aka kowso; kename kowso; kodzu; pokasa
Korean: Kku ji na mu.
Myanmar: Malaing
Pakistan: Gul toot
Russian: Бруссонетия  Brussonetiia,  Бруссонетии бумажной  Brussonetii
Slovenian: Papirjevka
Swedish: Pappersmullbär
Taiwan: Lu-a-shu
Thailand: Por-gra-saa; por-saa; ton-saa
Tonga: Hiapo
Plant Growth Habit Small deciduous shrub or tree
Growing Climate Grown in many subtropical and warm temperate regions. Prefers sub-humid warm, sub-tropical monsoon climate.
Soil Requires moist, well-drained soil and has been unsuccessful when tried on poor soil. It prefers sandy loams and light soils. Stiff clay and hard laterite soils prevent penetration of the roots to the sub-soil, resulting in stunted growth.
Plant Size 10–20 m tall (although exceptionally up to 35 m).
Root Shallow root systems
Stem Stem diameter is about 5 cm
Bark Light-grey, smooth, with shallow fissures or ridges
Twigs Hairy, reddish twigs
Branches Stout, grey-brown, spreading
Leaf Rough leaves (which are covered in soft hairs when young) are about 15 to 20 centimeters long, borne on a stalk, toothed at the margins, dark green on the upper side, and paler and woolly beneath. The leaf shape is variable. Some leaves are deeply lobed, while others (even on the same shoot) can be unlobed.
Flower Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants in spring. Male flower are yellow-white clusters elongate, pendulous, 3.5-7.5 cm long. Female flowers are orange globular about 1.3 cm in diameter. Persistent, hairy, clavate bracts subtend flowers.
Flowering Season Aug to September
Fruit Shape & Size Round or pear-shaped, 1 to 1.6 in. (3 to 4 cm) in diameter and split into three parts to reveal a spongy, white inner surface.
Fruit Color Green when young and turns orange to reddish purple as they mature.
Flesh  color White
Lifespan For many Decades
Season Sep to November
 

References:

http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/broussonetia-papyrifera-paper-mulberry

http://www.eattheweeds.com/broussonetia-papyrifera-paper-chase-2/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_mulberry

http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/cs/groups/public/documents/document/dcnr_010239.pdf

http://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/10017

http://keys.lucidcentral.org/keys/v3/eafrinet/weeds/key/weeds/Media/Html/Broussonetia_papyrifera_(Paper_Mulberry).htm

http://articles.extension.org/pages/62687/broussonetia-papyrifera-paper-mulberry

http://www.ugandacoalition.or.ug/content/paper-mulberry-good-or-bad-uganda

http://www.oplin.org/tree/fact%20pages/mulberry_paper/mulberry_paper.html

https://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/pubs/midatlantic/brpa.htm

http://www.invasiveplantatlas.org/subject.html?sub=5208

https://www.business.qld.gov.au/industry/agriculture/species/invasive-plants/other/paper-mulberry

http://www.texasinvasives.org/plant_database/detail.php?symbol=BRPA4

http://www.thesurvivalgardener.com/the-paper-mulberries-are-fruiting/

https://www.rous.nsw.gov.au/cp_themes/default/page.asp?p=DOC-IJJ-21-15-86

http://www.plantnames.unimelb.edu.au/Sorting/Broussonetia.html

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/61170/

https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?id=7900

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Broussonetia+papyrifera

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=e434

http://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/10017

http://eol.org/pages/594938/overview

http://www.floracatalana.net/broussonetia-papyrifera-l-vent-

http://www.dweckdata.co.uk/Published_papers/Broussonetia_papyrifer.pdf

http://www.worldagroforestry.org/treedb/AFTPDFS/Broussonetia_papyrifera.PDF

http://www.doc-developpement-durable.org/file/Arbres-Bois-de-Rapport-Reforestation/FICHES_ARBRES/Arbres-non-classes/Broussonetia-papermulb.pdf

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