E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Abutilon theophrasti Medik.
Malvaceae (Mallow family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Christine Hanrahan  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #29341)

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Distribution of Abutilon theophrasti
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Velvet-leaf in an introduced species in North America that originates in China and was introduced to the New World before 1750 as a potential fiber crop. It is now found across the continental US and in all southern Canadian provinces except Labrador (USDA 2011). Previously known only from the Fraser Valley in BC, it now found in several locations beyond that region.

Species Information

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Annual from a taproot; stems erect, several, branched, soft-hairy with star-shaped hairs, 1-2 m tall.
Alternate, heart-shaped, 10-20 cm wide, tapering to concave points, densely hairy to woolly, the hairs star-shaped; stalks 10-20 cm long.
Inflorescence of solitary, axillary flowers on stalks 2-3 cm long; petals 5, yellow, 6-8 mm long; calyces 5-lobed, the lobes pointed.
Carpels, usually 10-15, densely hairy with horizontally spreading beaks, the beaks 3-5 mm long; seeds 2-9.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic fields and waste places in the lowland zone; rare in SW BC, known only from the lower Fraser Valley; introduced from Asia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Abutilon abutilon (L.) Rusby
Abutilon avicennae Gaertn.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References