Plant Details

Broussonetia papyrifera

Paper Mulberry, Otaheite

Scientific Name:

Broussonetia papyrifera

Common Name:

Paper Mulberry, Otaheite

Plant Family

Moraceae (Mulberry Family)


Not Native to US

Invasive Status:

Rank 2 - Significant Threat (*)



Size in Feet:


Bloom Time:


Bloom Area:

Statewide (Mountains, Piedmont, Coast)

Habitat Description:

Urban lots, disturbed areas, roadsides; native of e. Asia. Common throughout NC.

State Rank:

No NC Rank Listed (*)

Global Rank:

No Global Rank listed (*)

State Status:


Federal Status:

No U.S. Status Listed (*)

Old specimen tree


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.


Jack Spruill, April 2011, Washington Co


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


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.


USDA PLANTS Database Record

Bird-Friendly Native Plants

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