There are about 8 species of fast growing, deciduous trees and shrubs, in this genus. They occur in woodland in Eastern Asia and Polynesia. They have alternate, smooth edged to lobed, or toothed leaves. Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants. B. papyriferaq, the only widely grown species, is grown for its large leaves, long pendent male catkins, and unusual fruit. It’s tolerance of pollution, heat, and poor soil has made it a popular tree fro urban locations, although it may become weedy. In areas with cool summer, it grows as a large shrub and is suitable for a shrub border.
Grow in almost any well drained soil in full sun, sheltered from wind.
Prone to a variety of cankers and leaf spot.
B. kazinoki – This spreading shrub from Japan and Korea grows 10-15′ feet tall. From reddish twigs it carries heart shaped leaves that are hairless except when young. The leaves may be up to 10″ long and sometimes 3 lobed, though much smaller on mature branches. It bears very short, clustered catkins, females are carried in small heads, followed by reddish fruiting heads that are woolly haired.