Native to Asia, paper mulberry is a small, quick-growing tree with red to orange fruit. It can form dense thickets that replace other vegetation.
Paper mulberry is a significant pest in several countries, including Pakistan and Argentina, where it ranks among the worst invasive plant species. In Queensland, paper mulberry is only sparingly naturalised around Brisbane and the coastal Wet Tropics, but could become a significant long-term problem if its spread is not controlled.
Paper mulberry is not a prohibited or restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
- Quick-growing shrub or small tree up to 15m tall.
- Leaves are simple, alternate, 8–20cm long, sandpaper-textured, with milky sap that stains clothes.
- Flowers are yellowish white, arranged in elongated inflorescence up to 8cm long.
- Fruits are red to orange-yellow, sweet, 1–4cm in diameter.
- Prefers open, disturbed habitats in coastal, tropical and subtropical high-rainfall areas.
- Can also invade less disturbed sites along riverbanks and in semi-deciduous, low-growing forests.
- Sparingly naturalised in Queensland.
- Has potential to spread over much larger areas.
- Fruits are produced twice each year.
- Seeds rarely germinate under dense forest canopies, but germination can be prolific in large canopy gaps, roadsides and abandoned farmland.
- Forms dense thickets, replacing native vegetation in coastal, high-rainfall areas.
- Thickets may possibly replace pasture in coastal, high-rainfall areas.
How it is spread
- Seeds dispersed by bats and birds that consume fruit.
- Paper mulberry is not a prohibited or restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014. However, by law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants under their control.
- Local councils must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants in their area. This plan may include actions to be taken on Paper mulberry. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local council for more information.
- Last reviewed: 8 Jun 2022
- Last updated: 20 Jun 2022