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Broussonetia - Growing Guide

Growing Broussonetia papyifera – Paper Mulberry

This is a small tree with the leaves and deciduous habit of a fruiting mulberry. In Japan this tree is grown for the paper making qualities of its bark. In the Polynesian Islands its fibres are made into cloth and Captain Cook first recorded natives wearing white cloth made in this way.

This is a hardy tree which prefers exactly the sort of site in which you would grow a fruiting mulberry – full sun, shelter and a well-drained soil. It requires no real pruning but may well put out suckers from its basal roots. The leaves are ovate (but deeply lobed when young) and grey-green with hairs on the topside and softly velvet below.

Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants. The male trees have attractive pendant catkins which are about 3in long and this feature is perhaps the key reason for growing this unusual tree. Female trees produce flowers in spherical heads which then develop into sweet tasting orange-red fruits in the autumn.

Unfortunately we are unable to tell you which sex our individual plants are as we buy them in from a French grower as young plants and they do take 10 to 15 years to flower. Nevertheless this is an interesting and attractive tree for your orchard or fruit garden.

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