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Broussonetia papyrifera (L.) LHér. ex Vent.

Protologue  
 Tabl. règn. vég. 3: 547 (1799).
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Family  
 Moraceae
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Chromosome number  
 2n = 26
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Synonyms  
 Morus papyrifera L. (1753).
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Vernacular names  
 Paper mulberry, Ghana yorke, deer’s tree, tapa cloth tree (En). Mûrier à papier (Fr). Amoreira do papel (Po).
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Origin and geographic distribution  
 The natural distribution range of paper mulberry comprises Japan, China, Indo-China, Thailand, Myanmar and Assam (India). From there it has been introduced by early voyaging Polynesians to tropical islands throughout the Pacific Ocean and to Indonesia. It is cultivated and has naturalized in Europe and the United States. In tropical Africa it has been introduced in Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe sometime during the first half of the 20th century. It is probable that it has since spread to other tropical African countries but this has remained undocumented.
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Uses  
 For centuries the tough and interlacing bast fibre from the inner bark of paper mulberry has been used to make paper and textile fabric for clothing. The former application is found in Japan, China, Indo-China, Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines and Indonesia, although with different production methods, and the latter in, among others, Indonesia, New Guinea and Polynesia, where the fabric is known as ‘tapa cloth’. In China paper mulberry fibre was made into a form of paper around 100 AD. Around 600 AD paper manufacturing from paper mulberry reached Japan, where a high-quality paper industry became established. The very strong paper made of paper mulberry bast fibre in Japan is used for writing and the manufacture of lanterns and umbrellas. Both the bark and the wood can be used for the production of newsprint, writing and printing papers.
Introduction of paper mulberry in Africa was done with the purpose to produce fibres specifically for the production of paper. This has not been a success and the main use of paper mulberry in tropical Africa is for firewood and to some extent for timber. In Ghana the timber is used for furniture, crates, pallets, picture frames and plywood. In China the wood is used for furniture.
In Indonesia the young leaves are eaten as a steamed vegetable. The sweetish infructescences are edible as well. The leaves are fed to livestock in Ghana, to pigs in Indo-China and to silkworms in China.
In traditional medicine in Indo-China the leaves are used as a laxative and a diaphoretic, and the fruit as pectoral, stomachic and tonic, whereas the bark is taken against dysentery and haemorrhage and the latex applied externally to treat snake- and dog-bites and bee stings. The root bark is used for the depigmentation of the skin.
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Production and international trade  
 In South-East Asia paper mulberry fibres are mainly used locally, and paper making is usually a home industry. In the Philippines handmade paper is produced for domestic use as well as export markets, but production statistics are not available.
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Properties  
 Paper mulberry bast fibres are soft, lustrous and very strong. The fibre cells are ( 6–)10–15(–25) mm long and (12–)25–30(–36) μm wide. The wood and bark of paper mulberry can be pulped, separately or together, with a number of processes, including the mechanical, kraft and APMP (alkaline peroxide mechanical pulping) processes. Pulping experiments with the whole stem for the production of bleached sulphate and rayon grade pulp have been promising. Bast fibre pulp may be used in blends to increase the tear strength of short-fibred pulps. Interaction of resinous substances with inorganic compounds, especially calcium, may cause ink-repellent spots in paper made from paper mulberry bast fibre.
The wood is greyish white. The grain is straight. Wood from Ghana had a density of 455–506 kg/m³ at 12% moisture content. The wood is soft, fibrous and brittle. Reports indicate that the timber is non-durable and very weak compared to other timbers with respect to almost all mechanical properties, both in green and air-dried condition. The wood fibres are (0.1–)0.8–1.2(–1.4) mm long and (17–)22–30(–47) μm wide. Oven-dry wood contains 59% cellulose, 23% lignin, 16% pentosans and 1% ash.
The flavonoid broussochalcone A, isolated from the bark, is a powerful antioxidant, and has free radical-scavenging activity. It also suppresses the production of nitric oxide and hence it may have potential to cure various inflammatory diseases. It is also a potent inhibitor of platelet aggregation and an inhibitor of respiratory burst in neutrophils. Several other compounds with activity against platelet aggregation were isolated from the bark of paper mulberry. Broussonin A and B from the bark have shown antifungal and antibacterial activity.
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Adulterations and substitutes  
 As many representatives of the family Moraceae, like Artocarpus spp. and Ficus spp., have fibres suitable for backcloth and papermaking, they may substitute paper mulberry fibre. Flax and hemp fibres may be used as substitutes for paper mulberry fibre to reinforce short-fibred pulps.
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Description  
 Dioecious, deciduous, medium-sized tree up to 12(–35) m tall, in cultivation often a multi-stemmed shrub c. 3 m tall, with white latex present in all parts; bole with small buttresses, diameter up to 70 cm, generally gnarled; bark smooth, dark grey, inner bark consisting of tough interlacing fibres that can be extracted in broad layers; crown spreading; branchlets 1.5–3 mm thick, short, soft-hairy. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules up to 20 mm long, membranous, slightly ribbed, caducous; petiole up to 10(–15) cm long, hairy; blade ovate or cordiform or elliptical, 5–20 cm × 4–12 cm, entire or up to 5-lobed, rounded or cordate at base, acuminate to sub-acute at apex, papery, lower surface of young leaves dense soft-hairy, pinnately veined with 5–9 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence an axillary catkin; male inflorescence solitary or clustered on short axillary shoot, cylindrical, 3–10 cm long, reddish, many-flowered, peduncle 1–2.5 cm long, densely hairy; female inflorescence globose, 1–1.2 cm in diameter, peduncle 0.3–1.5 cm long, hairy. Flowers unisexual; male flowers sessile, perianth 4-lobed, 1.5–2 mm long, stamens 4, 3–3.5 mm long; female flowers covered by bracts, perianth tubular, c. 1 mm long, 4-dentate, ovary superior, c. 0.5 mm long, stigma 1, 7–10 mm long. Fruit an oblongoid drupe, 2–2.5 mm long, 1-seeded, many arranged together in a subglobose infructescence 2–2.5 cm in diameter. Seed small.
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Other botanical information  
 Broussonetia comprises 8 species, of which 7 are native to tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions of Asia, and 1 is native to Madagascar.
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Anatomy  
 The inner bark is about 2 mm thick; it is dense and homogeneous because of the minute pith rays. The fibre cells have thick walls and their ends are usually pointed or blunt, though other shapes may also occur. Dislocations and cross-markings are frequent but finer than those in flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) and hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) fibre. The bark also contains a second type of fibre cells, which are wide, thin-walled and ribbon-like, with rounded ends. Paper mulberry fibres are often enveloped by a transparent membrane (the loosened primary wall), which distinguishes the fibres of this species from those of many other bast fibre species. Parenchyma with cells containing prismatic calcium oxalate crystals and milksap tubes (lactifers) are also found in the bark.
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Growth and development  
 Paper mulberry is a fast-growing tree, with often abundant sucker formation. An annual growth in height of 2.6 m and in diameter of 2.5 cm has been recorded. Various leaf forms may occur on the same twig: from ovate with entire margins to lobed on one or both sides. Flowering and fruiting can occur year-round, but trees exploited for their fibres are mostly cut before they reach the flowering stage. In many of the Pacific Ocean Islands flowering is unknown or infrequent. Paper mulberry trees can regenerate new bark after complete girdling. In Uganda the paper mulberry is one of the fastest growing tree species recorded. Chimpanzees, birds and other animals eat the infructescences and contribute to dispersal of the seeds.
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Ecology  
 Broussonetia papyrifera grows in areas with an average annual temperature of 12–30°C, a mean annual rainfall of 700–2500 mm, and a dry season of up to 4 months. In its native range it occurs in warm temperate to subtemperate deciduous forest, but it also thrives in tropical lowlands and highlands, in particular in areas with a seasonal climate. It is a vigorous pioneer which can spread rapidly following canopy disturbance or farming and it is sometimes considered a weed, for example in Bangladesh and the Philippines. The species was introduced in Uganda for experimental purposes. The experiment failed, trials were abandoned and the species spread. In Budongo Forest, Uganda, paper mulberry is regenerating in disturbed areas and it is also reported as naturalized in other Ugandan forests. In Ghana canopy gaps and farming activities favour its spread and it has gained a reputation as one of the most serious invasive weeds.
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Propagation and planting  
 Natural reproduction of paper mulberry is by seed and root suckers, and in cultivation also by wood or root cuttings, layering or grafting. The 1000-seed weight is c. 2 g. Seeds are not very sensitive to light for germination and can germinate in the dark. In Thailand transplanting of suckers 30 cm tall gave better survival than propagation with root cuttings, stem cuttings or seed. In-vitro micropropagation of paper mulberry is possible as well.
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Management  
 For the production of bark cloth or tapa cloth without holes it is necessary to prune the side branches. So far efforts in tropical Africa to control Broussonetia papyrifera are minimal. Herbicide treatment is considered for control in forest reserves in Ghana. It is promoted in some places for firewood because of its rapid growth. In tea estates in Uganda it is replacing Eucalyptus spp. and other species for firewood, and pure stands are established next to a nature reserve such as Mabira Forest.
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Diseases and pests  
 No information is available on diseases and pests affecting paper mulberry in tropical Africa.
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Harvesting  
 In Japan stems from coppiced paper mulberry are usually harvested every 3–5 years. In Polynesia stems 3–4 m tall and less than 4 cm in diameter are harvested, leaving the stump to coppice. Usually there are 12–18 months between harvests. In Indonesia the harvest interval is 2 years and stems of 2–3 m tall and a diameter of 2 cm are cut off at the base of the trees. For fibre use timely harvesting is necessary because older trees have a harder and more brittle bark.
In Ghana the stems are harvested as timber and fuelwood while the leaves are used as fodder. Depending on the diameter of the trees, chainsaw or cutlasses are used for felling.
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Yield  
 A two-year old paper mulberry plantation in Indonesia at 800 m altitude yielded 300 g of fresh bark per tree, which is equivalent to 90 g dry bark fibre. In Thailand paper mulberry spaced 1 m × 1 m apart and harvested 6 and 12 months after planting yielded 2400 and 2800 kg bark per ha, respectively. In production for pulp and paper, annual yields of 8–12 t/ha can be expected in low rainfall areas and 20–30 t/ha in high rainfall areas.
In Ghana the average dimensions of the utilizable portion of the timber harvested from Afram Headwaters Forest for milling were: butt diameter 46 cm; top diameter 30 cm; length 19.6 m. The average log and lumber recoveries were 61.9% and 59.7% respectively when a horizontal narrow bandmill ( Wood-Mizer) was used.
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Handling after harvest  
 In Japan the stems are steamed and the outer bark is scraped off to be used for the production of coarse paper but elsewhere the outer bark is discarded. Complicated and labour-intensive procedures are used to process the inner bark to be used for clothing or paper. On islands of the Pacific Ocean the general procedure in the manufacture of tapa cloth is to peel bark strips off the stem and to remove the outer bark. After being soaked in water and cleaned, the strips are placed on a log and beaten. Individual strips are united by overlapping the edges and beating them together. Depending on the thickness, the appearance varies from muslin-like to leathery. Tapa cloth is often dyed or otherwise ornamented. In Ghana the major machining defect of the timber was fuzzy grain.
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Genetic resources and breeding  
 No germplasm collections of paper mulberry are known to exist. In South-East Asia cultivars of paper mulberry include those with laciniate leaf blades, white infructescences, yellow or white variegated leaves, or relatively large leaves. In Hawaii, where only male plants have been introduced, 3 different clones are named. In many Pacific Ocean Islands the bark is no longer traditionally used for tapa cloth, cultivation has ceased and often the species has not persisted in the wild. It is feared that many local selections have disappeared. In Tonga, Samoa and Fiji the species is still cultivated and in Hawaii the traditional tapa cloth production has been revived.
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Breeding  
 No breeding programmes of paper mulberry are known to exist.
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Prospects  
 Wherever introduction of paper mulberry would be considered, the risk that it will develop into an invasive weed should be taken into account. In many instances vegetative multiplication of male plants only is a good option to avoid problems. The exploitation, especially as a source of raw material for speciality papers, e.g. for decoration and currency notes, could have some future and economic potential in tropical Africa. Production could be increased by using adapted cropping methods, the selection of appropriate cultivars and improved processing methods. Compounds from the bark may have some therapeutic potential in inflammatory diseases. Paper mulberry is considered as a promising ‘second-generation’ biofuel crop species.
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Major references  
 • Berg, C.C., 2003. Broussonetia papyrifera (L.) L’Hér. ex Vent. In: Brink, M. & Escobin, R.P. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 17. Fibre plants. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. pp. 91–95.
• CAB International, 2010. Forestry Compendium. Broussonetia papyrifera. [Internet] http://www.cabi.org/ fc/?compid=2&dsid=10017&loadmodule=datasheet&page=2147&site=163. Accessed April 2011.
• Dweck, A.C., undated. A review of the paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera) (L.) Hert. ex Vent. [Internet] http://www.dweckdata.com/Published_papers/Broussonetia_papyrifer.pdf. Accessed March 2011.
• Ilvessalo-Pfäffli, M.-S., 1995. Fiber atlas. Identification of papermaking fibers. Springer Verlag, Berlin, Germany. 400 pp.
• Orwa, C., Mutua, A., Kindt, R., Jamnadass, R. & Simons, A., 2009. Agroforestree database: a tree reference and selection guide. Version 4.0. [Internet] World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Nairobi, Kenya. http://www.worldagroforestry.org/ resources/databases/ agroforestree. Accessed April 2011.
• Whistler, W.A. & Elevitch, C.R., 2006. Broussonetia papyrifera (paper mulberry), version 2.1. In: Elevitch, C.R. (Editor). Species Profiles for Pacific Island Agroforestry. Permanent Agriculture Resources (PAR), Holualoa, Hawaii. 13 pp.
• Wu, Z., Zhou, Z.-K. & Gilbert, M.G., 2004. Moraceae. [Internet] Flora of China 5: 21–37. http://www.efloras.org/ florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=10588. Accessed March 2011.
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Other references  
 • Addo-Fordjour, P., Obeng, S., Anning, A.K. & Addo, M.G., 2009. Floristic composition, structure and natural regeneration in a moist semi-deciduous forest following anthropogenic disturbances and plant invasion. International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation 1(2): 21–37.
• Appiah, J.K., 2008. Some physical properties and drying characteristics of Broussonetia papyrifera from Afram Headwaters Forest Reserve in Ghana. Research findings presented at a colloquium held on 28th August 2008 at FORIG, Kumasi, Ghana.
• Bakuneeta, C., 1997. The chimpanzees of Budongo Forest: a case study. In: Edroma, E., Rosen, N. & Miller, P. (Editors). Conserving the chimpanzees of Uganda: population and habitat viability assessment for Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii. Proceedings of a workshop held in Entebbe, Uganda. pp. 172–179.
• Bhat, R.V. & Guha, S.R.D., 1952. Indigenous cellulosic raw materials for the production of pulp, paper and board. Part 4. Writing and printing papers from paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera). Indian Forester 78: 93–97.
• Cheng, Z.-J., Lin, C.-N., Hwang, T.-L. & Teng, C.-M., 2001. Broussochalcone A, a potent antioxidant and effective suppressor of inducible nitric oxide synthase in lipopolysaccharide-activated macrophages. Biochemical Pharmacology 61(8): 939–946.
• Dale, I.R., 1953. A descriptive list of the introduced trees of the Uganda protectorate. The Government Printer, Entebbe, Uganda. 76 pp.
• Dawkins, H.C., 1956. Rapid detection of aberrant girth increment of rain-forest trees. Empire Forestry Review 35: 449–454.
• FOREAIM, 2008. Bridging restoration and multi-functionality in degraded forest landscape of Eastern Africa and Indian Ocean Islands. Scientific Report, CIRAD, Montpellier, France. 113 pp.
• Lee, D., Bhat, K.P.L., Fong, H.H.S., Farnsworth, N.R., Pezzuto, J.M. & Kinghorn, A.D., 2001. Aromatase inhibitors from Broussonetia papyrifera. Journal of Natural Products 64(10): 1286–1293.
• Ofori, J., 2008. Mechanical strength properties of Broussonetia papyrifera from Afram Headwaters Forest Reserve in Ghana. Research results presented at a colloquium held on 28th August 2008 at FORIG, Kumasi, Ghana.
• Owusu, F.W., 2008. Sawing & machining properties of Broussonetia papyrifera from Afram Headwaters Forest Reserve in Ghana and development of some prototype products. Research findings presented at a colloquium held on 28th August 2008 at FORIG, Kumasi, Ghana.
• Sheil, D., 1994. Naturalized and invasive plant species in the evergreen forests of the East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania. African Journal of Ecology 32(1): 66–71.
• Suleman, K.M. & Nadeem, K., 1995. Suitability of home grown paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera) for pulp and paper manufacture. Pakistan Journal of Forestry 45(4): 158–162.
• Zheng, Z.P., Cheng, K.W., Chao, J., Wu, J. & Wang, M., 2008. Tyrosinase inhibitors from paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera). Food Chemistry 106: 529–535.
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Sources of illustration  
 • Berg, C.C., 2003. Broussonetia papyrifera (L.) L’Hér. ex Vent. In: Brink, M. & Escobin, R.P. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 17. Fibre plants. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. pp. 91–95.
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Author(s)  
 
F.W. Owusu
Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), University P.O. Box 63, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana
Based on PROSEA 17: ‘Fibre plants’.


Editors  
 
M. Brink
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
E.G. Achigan Dako
PROTA Network Office Africa, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), P.O. Box 30677-00100, Nairobi, Kenya
Photo editor  
 
G.H. Schmelzer
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
Correct citation of this article  
 Owusu, F.W., 2011. Broussonetia papyrifera (L.) L’Hér. ex Vent. [Internet] Record from PROTA4U. Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. <http://www.prota4u.org/search.asp>. Accessed .



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General importance
Geographic coverage Africa
Geographic coverage World
Vegetables
Forage/feed use
Timber use
Fuel use
Medicinal use
Fibre use
Food security



Broussonetia papyrifera
planted



Broussonetia papyrifera
1, leafy twig; 2, male inflorescence; 3, male flower; 4, female flowers and interfloral bracts; 5, infructescence.
Source: PROSEA



Broussonetia papyrifera
Broussonetia papyrifera



Broussonetia papyrifera

obtained from TopTropicals



Broussonetia papyrifera
Broussonetia papyrifera



Broussonetia papyrifera
Broussonetia papyrifera



Broussonetia papyrifera
Broussonetia papyrifera



Broussonetia papyrifera

obtained from TopTropicals



Broussonetia papyrifera

obtained from TopTropicals



Broussonetia papyrifera
male flowers
obtained from TopTropicals



Broussonetia papyrifera
Broussonetia papyrifera


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