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Plant Details

Broussonetia papyrifera

Paper Mulberry, Otaheite

Scientific Name:

Broussonetia papyrifera

Common Name:

Paper Mulberry, Otaheite

Plant Family

Moraceae (Mulberry Family)

Native/Alien:

Alien

Invasive Status:

Rank 2 - Significant Threat (*)

Type:

Deciduous Tree

Size in Feet:

50

Bloom Time:

April

Bloom Area:

Statewide (Mountains, Piedmont, Coast)

Old specimen tree

image

photographed by Jack Spruill, in Plymouth, Washington Co,

In Washington Co, paper mulberry is called "otaheite", an old name for Tahiti. "It is well known that there were hundreds of acres of mulberry trees planted in parts of North Carolina, including Washington County, as part of the great silk worm ventures of colonial times. My theory is that some of the mulberry species planted included Broussonetia papyrifera. If so, I believe that is how the plant got to NC and why it is called Otaheite by some of us. The great silk get-rich-scheme included Thomas Jefferson. Apparently the name Otaheite is included in some plant records at Monticello. I think the community Silk Hope in Chatham County is so named because there were mulberry plantings there." - Jack Spruill

Male flowers

Ornamental plantings are mostly male trees.

image

Jack Spruill, April 2011, Washington Co

Leaves

Leaves can be both lobed and unlobed. It is also one of the few trees that can have both opposite and alternate leaves.

image

Jack Spruill, April 2011, Washington Co.

Native to east Asia, paper mulberry was used in China to make high-quality paper as early as 100 A.D.

Links:

USDA PLANTS Database Record


Bird-Friendly Native Plants

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