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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 flower Velvetleaf leaf Velvetleaf Velvetleaf seedling Velvetleaf seedpod
Click to enlarge.