PlantsAbutilons→Velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti)

Common names:
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General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Shrub
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Dry
Plant Height: 3 feet
Plant Spread: 1 - 3 feet
Leaves: Evergreen
Other: velvety texture
Fruit: Edible to birds
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Summer
Underground structures: Taproot
Uses: Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Fruit
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Butterflies
Hummingbirds
Propagation: Seeds: Other info: prolific self seeder; seed may be viable in soil for 20 years
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger

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Comments:
Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Jul 29, 2012 12:08 AM

Plant has ability to attain very large proportions. Size is related to amount of nitrogen in the soil. Self seeds prolifically.. Considered a troublesome weed by farmers in the Midwest. Often found growing in and along soybean and corn fields. Texture of leaf is basis for common name; Velvet leaf; they definitely feel soft and velvet. Seed capsule shape forms basis for some other common names.
Seed can remain viable in the soil for 20 years plus; seeds are reportedly edible.
Other habitats include abandoned fields, construction sites, waste areas, and where the soil has recently been disturbed.
Originally introduced from India as a possible source of bast.
In an outdoor emergency, the soft leaves can be used as a substitute for toilet paper.

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Posted by Gardener2493 (Phoenix, Arizona - Zone 9b) on Jul 20, 2021 1:29 PM

This species (Abutilon Theophrasti) is from the genus of the popular flowering maples (Abutilon) but it is NOT something you want in your garden. Although edible, it is highly invasive in the United States, and can outcompete other plants. Its huge leaves and allelopathic properties make it easy for it to outcompete other plants. In crops, it is a curse. Velvetleaf grows up to 8 feet tall with huge, velvety, foul-smelling leaves and small, bright yellow flowers. The seedpods look like black crowns and contain many seeds that can remain viable for up to half a century. Velvetleaf is similar in appearance to Paulownia seedlings, but Paulownia does not have an odor when crushed, and its leaves are oppositely arranged along the stem. What's interesting is that Paulownia and velvetleaf both come from China, but velvetleaf was imported here as a fiber crop, but Paulownia was introduced as a lumber and ornamental tree. Velvetleaf is also mistaken for its close cousin, Abutilon Indicum, but Abutilon Indicum is a perennial, tropical shrub, while velvetleaf is a huge, lanky annual plant present across the United States. Abutilon Indicum also has rounder seedpods and is not very common within the U.S.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Jul 28, 2019 3:53 PM

This is a common annual weed in and near farm fields, especially of corn or soybeans, plus gardens and waste places in the country or in urban habitats, plus occasionally in landscape planting beds the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic US, growing as far north as central Minnesota. Even though it has a big taproot, it is not hard to pull up, unless it is a big one. It is usually about 2 to 4 feet high, but can get 6 to 8 feet high. The small yellow flowers are about 3/4 inch in diameter with 5 petals. The cup-shaped seed pods about 1 inch in diameter hold about 5 to 15 grayish-brown seeds that are rounded, but flattened and notched.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
What is this by MRTIM22 Jul 29, 2021 8:34 PM 7
Is this part of my melon plants? by Jini Jul 6, 2021 11:36 AM 6
GardenBuddies Say Hello! by seilMI Aug 4, 2021 12:07 PM 789
Weird seed pods by skopjecollection Nov 28, 2020 1:32 AM 2
Unknown Weed or Plant ??? by Wally2007 Sep 7, 2020 3:08 PM 5
Plant Name? by Bronko Jul 20, 2021 1:40 PM 6
What plant is this in my garden? by SaltyDogDB Aug 5, 2020 9:45 PM 3
Coronavirus Info Central (COVID19 Discussion) by EscondidoCal Aug 4, 2021 4:29 PM 11,285
Need help in identifying these plant. by Beanstalk Feb 21, 2020 7:45 AM 3
Plant identification by Samlav Aug 30, 2018 6:50 AM 3

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