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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Scientific Name: Abutilon theophrasti Medic.

Other Names: abutilon, Butter-print, Elephant ear, Indian-mallow, Pir-marker, abutilon feuille de velours

Family: Mallow Family (Malvaceae)

General Description: Annual, reproducing only by seed.

Habitat: Velvetleaf occurs in southern Ontario where it is increasing in corn, soybeans and other annually tilled crops and in waste places.


  • Seedling with stem
  • Leaves alternate
  • Covered with silky hairs
  • Cotyledons are either orbicular or spade-shaped, 10- 15 mm (0.4- 0.6 in.) long


  • 1- 2 m (3- 6½ ft) tall and occasionally taller
  • Much-branched in the upper part
  • Finely soft-hairy


  • Alternate (1 per node)
  • Broadly heart-shaped
  • Large, 7- 20 cm (3- 8 in.) wide with a sharp-pointed apex
  • Shallowly round-toothed
  • Soft-hairy
  • Very velvety to the touch


  • Single or in small clusters form the leaf axils
  • Each with 5 large sepals and 5 yellow to yellow-orange petals
  • 1.3- 2.5 cm (1/2- 1 in.) wide when open
  • Filaments untie to form a central column as in the mallows
  • Circular cluster of 12 to 15 seedpods about 1.3- 2.5 cm (1/2- 1 in.) long, at first green but turning dark brown to black at maturity
  • Each individual pod opening with a vertical slit down its back and containing several purplish-brown, V-shaped seeds about 1 mm (1/25 in.) long
  • Flowers from late July until autumn

Often Confused With

Common Mallow Seedlings (Common mallow cotyledons lack hairs, and at maturity, the leaves are rounded).
Velvetleaf Velvetleaf Velvetleaf
Click to enlarge.