Abutilon theophrasti is an erect annual herb with a shrub like growth habit. They can reach 7 ft. (2.1 m) in height and are often unbranched. Stems are erect and covered with soft hairs. The plant’s taproots have fibrous root systems.
Leaves are alternate, heart-shaped, and acuminate (gradually tapering to a point). Leaves are approximately 2-6 in. (5.1-15.2 cm) long and wide. They are densely hairy on both surfaces, with toothed margins. Leaves have palmate venation (veins originate from a common point). The leaves emit an unpleasant odor when crushed.
Flowers can be found singly or in clusters. They are yellow with 5 petals and 0.4-1 in. (1-2.5 cm) in diameter. Flowering occurs from July through August
Abutilon theophrasti fruit is a circular capsule fruit about 1 in. (2.5 cm) in diameter. Each capsule contains a ring of 'prickles' around the upper edge. Fruits contain 2 to 3 seeds each.
Abutilon theophrasti is a native of China. Cultivated as a source of fiber and oil; it has escaped cultivation invading orchards, cotton, corn, soybeans, and vegetable fields causing serious damage. Abutilon theophrasti seeds can remain viable in the soil for over 50 years. It is especially invasive in disturbed habitats. It is found across the United States.
Populations of this plant exist in the United States that are resistant to Photosystem II inhibitors (C1/5)
- King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks Water and Land Resources Division
- University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources Invasive Pest Management
- Oregon Department of Agriculture Plant Programs, Noxious Weed Control
- Michigan State University Extension
- USDA NRCS PLANTS
- USDA ARS GRIN
- The International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds. Online. Internet. Heap, I., The International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds. Online. Internet. Friday, November 15, 2013.