Herb: Paper Mulberry


Latin name: Broussonetia papyrifera


Synonyms: Morus papyrifera, Papyrius papyrifera


Family: Moraceae (Mulberry Family)



Medicinal use of Paper Mulberry:

Astringent, diuretic, tonic, vulnerary. The leaf juice is diaphoretic and laxative - it is also used in the treatment of dysentery. It is also poulticed onto various skin disorders, bites etc. The stem bark is haemostatic. The fruit is diuretic, ophthalmic, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. The root is cooked with other foods as a galactogogue.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Tree

Height:
9 m
(30 feet)

Flovering:
August to
September

Habitat of the herb:

Thickets, mountain ravines and forests.

Edible parts of Paper Mulberry:

Fruit - raw. The fruit comprises a ball about 1.5cm in diameter with numerous small edible fruits protruding - there is not much edible flesh but it has a lovely flavour. Prolonged ingestion is said to weaken the bones. Leaves - cooked. The dried leaf contains 1% calcium carbonate (this report does not mention edibility). Flowers. No more details.

Other uses of the herb:

A fibre from the bark is used in making paper, cloth, rope etc. The fibre can be produced by beating strips of bark on a flat surface with a wooden mallet. A very fine cloth can be made in this way, the more the bark is beaten the finer the cloth becomes. Larger sizes can be made by overlapping 2 pieces of bark and beating them together. A leather substitute can also be made from the bark. When used for making paper branches are harvested after the leaves have fallen in the autumn, they are steamed and the fibres stripped off. In humid areas this can be done without steaming the branches. The inner and outer bark are then separated by scraping (or simply peeling in humid areas) and the fibres are cooked for 2 hours with lye before being hand pounded with mallets. The paper varies in colour if the outer and inner barks are used together or separately. Wood - coarse grained, soft, easily worked, light, not very durable. Used for cups, bowls etc.

Propagation of Paper Mulberry:

Seed - no pre-treatment is required. Sown in the autumn or spring in a greenhouse, germination usually takes place within 1 - 3 months at 15C. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 8 - 12cm long with a heel, July/August in a frame. High percentage. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, November in a frame. Root cuttings in winter. Layering in spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Thickets, mountain ravines and forests.

Known hazards of Broussonetia papyrifera:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.