Broussonetia papyrifera is well-known for its bark fibers, which are used for making paper, cloth, rope etc. This is the first report of a successful genetic transformation protocol for B. papyrifera using Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Callus was initiated at a frequency of about 100% for both leaf and petiole explants. Shoots formed on these calli with a success rate of almost 100%, with 14.08 and 8.36 shoots regenerating from leave-derived and petiole-derived callus, respectively. For genetic transformation, leaf explants of B. papyrifera were incubated with A. tumefaciens strain LBA4404 harboring the binary vector pCAMBIA 1301 which contains the hpt gene as a selectable marker for hygromycin resistance and an intron-containing β-glucuronidase gene (gus-int) as a reporter gene. Following co-cultivation, leaf explants were cultured on Murashige and Skoog (Physiol Plant 15:473, 1962) (MS) medium supplemented with 1.5 mg l−1 benzyladenine (BA) and 0.05 mg l−1 indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) (CI medium) containing 5 mg l−1 hygromycin and 500 mg l−1 cefotaxime, in the dark. Hygromycin-resistant calli were induced from leaf explants 3 weeks thereafter. Regenerating shoots were obtained after transfer of the calli onto MS medium supplemented with 1.5 mg l−1 BA, 0.05 mg l−1 IBA, and 0.5 mg l−1 gibberellic acid (GA3) (SI medium), 5 mg l−1 hygromycin and 250 mg l−1 cefotaxime under fluorescent light. Finally, shoots were rooted on half strength MS medium (1/2 MS) supplemented with 10 mg l−1 hygromycin. Transgene incorporation and expression was confirmed by PCR, Southern hybridisation and histochemical GUS assay. Using this protocol, transgenic B. papyrifera plants containing desirable new genes can be obtained in approximately 3 months with a transformation frequency as high as 44%.