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Velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti Medik.)

Also known as velvet plant, velvetweed, Chinese jute, China jute, crown weed, Indian mallow, lantern mallow.

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Velvetleaf is a plant native to south Asia with a wide distribution across North America. It is primarily a weed of cropland, especially corn. It can hugely reduce crop yields, is costly economically, and is widely considered an invasive weed.

Range - Expand

Introduced or Not Present

This tentative map is based on our own research. It may have limited data on Canada and/or Mexico, and there is some subjectivity in our assignment of plants as introduced vs. expanded. Read more in this blog post.


Rich, cultivated soils. Particularly common in cornfields, also occurs on roadsides and in gardens.


Cultivated in China for use as a fiber, resembling Jute, which is produced from plants of the Corchorus genus, in the same family.

There are numerous native Abutilon species in the southwestern U.S., but in most of this species' range it is the only member of its genus. It is also the only introduced member of its genus in North America.

The broader Malvaceae or mallow family, contains many plants, both native and introduced.

Abutilon theophrasti (Velvetleaf) | Illinois Wildflowers (About This Site)

Abutilon theophrasti (Velvetleaf) | USDA PLANTS Database (About This Site)

Abutilon theophrasti | Go Botany (About This Site)

Abutilon theophrasti (velvet leaf) | CABI Invasive Species Compendium (About This Site)

Abutilon theophrasti | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)