Trees , to 15 m. Bark tan, smooth or moderately furrowed. Branchlets brown, spreading pubescent. Terminal bud absent, axillary buds dark brown, short-pubescent; leaf scars nearly circular, somewhat elevated. Leaves: stipules ovate to ovate-oblong, apex attenuate; petiole shorter than or equal to blade. Leaf blade entire or 3-5-lobed, 6-20 × 5-15 cm, base shallowly cordate, often oblique, truncate, or broadly rounded, margins serrate, apex acuminate; surfaces abaxially densely gray-pubescent, adaxially scabrous. Staminate inflorescences 6-8 cm; peduncle 2-4 cm. Pistillate inflorescences ca. 2 cm diam., villous. Staminate flowers: sepals pubescent. Pistillate flowers: style elongate-filiform. Syncarps globose, 2-3 cm diam.; drupes red or orange, oblanceolate, each exserted from its calyx. Flowering spring. Disturbed thickets; 0-600 m; introduced; Ala., Ark., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Ill., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Md., Mass., Miss., Mo., Nebr., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Okla., Pa., R.I., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va., W.Va.; native to Asia. Broussonetia papyrifera is now widely naturalized in eastern United States. Frequently planted as a shade tree around dwellings, it is often considered undesirable because of its aggressiveness, shallow root system, and soft, brittle wood. The bark of the tree is used to produce a barkcloth.
Tall shrub or small tree with smooth bark and pubescent twigs; lvs firm, broadly ovate, serrate and often lobed, scabrous above, densely pubescent beneath; staminate catkins slender, 5 cm; pistillate catkins 1-2 cm thick; fr 2-3 cm thick; 2n=26. Native of China and Japan, occasionally escaped from cult. from N.Y. to Mo. and s. Apr., May. (Papyrius p.)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.