Mulberry Paper Making

Laura K. Thompson Dr, Furman University


This laboratory is one in a series that I use in Biology 401: Applied Plant Science. This course is designed for students who have had at least one introductory Biology course, either for a major or a non-major. The goal in the course is to give the student an appreciation for the importance of plants to human society. Each laboratory session is designed to give the student an appreciation for how plants contribute to society and an experience in original processing of plants for their use. This laboratory session allows students to learn about how paper was originally produced. I collect Paper Mulberry branches which the students process to obtain the phloem fibers. Once the students have striped, cleaned, and steamed the phloem fibers, they beat the wood to a pulp with axe handles. Once the pulp is prepared the student use a deckle to make their own paper. This is a messy laboratory which we usually do in the greenhouse, where we can easily clean up the work space with a hose. Much of the paper that they make is used for the invitations to the Plant Banquet – the final exam for the class.