Velvet Leaf, Indian Mallow, American Jute – Flowers

(Abutilon Abutilon) Mallow family

(A. Avicennae of Gray)

Flowers—Deep yellow, 1/2 to 3/4 in. broad, 5-parted, regular, solitary on stout peduncles from the leaf axils. Stem: 3 to 6 ft. high, velvety, branched. Leaves : Soft velvety, heart-shaped, the lobes rounded, long petioled. Fruit: In a head about 1 in. across, 12 to 15 erect hairy carpels, with spreading sharp beaks.

Preferred Habitat—Escaped from cultivation to waste sandy loam, fields, roadsides.

Flowering Season—August—October.

Distribution—Common or frequent, except at the extreme North.

There was a time, not many years ago, when this now common and often troublesome weed was imported from India and tenderly cultivated in flower gardens. In the Orient it and allied species are grown for their fibre, which is utilized for cordage and cloth ; but the equally valuable plant now running wild here has yet to furnish American men with a profitable industry. Although the blossom is next of kin to the veiny Chinese bell-flower, or striped abutilon, so common in greenhouses, its appearance is quite different.