Abutilon theophrasti (Velvetleaf)
Species: A. theophrasti
Binomial name: Abutilon theophrasti
Synonyms: Abutilon abutilon, Abutilon avicennae
Common names: Velvet leaf, Velvetleaf, China jute, Buttonweed, Butterprint, Pie-marker, Indian mallow
Abutilon theophrasti is an annual, broadleaf plant in the family Malvaceae (Mallows) and is native to East Europe, North Africa and Asia, but now a major crop pest in parts of North America, Europe, and Australia. It is now being reported regularly in New Zealand where it is now classed as an unwanted organism by the Ministry of Primary Industries.
In New Zealand, velvetleaf is associated with the importation of contaminated fodder beet seed in 2015. It is now one of the most detrimental weeds to corn as it steals nutrients and water causing decreases of up to 34% of crop yield. The seeds can be spread on farm machinery, as a contaminant in grain, silage, straw and hay, or in the effluent from animals that have been grazing infested land.
Because of the late emergence of its germinating seeds and that it is shade tolerant, it is capable of producing seeds under the crop canopies. This can result in huge seed loads in the soil. The seeds are capable of long dormancy – up to 50 years - making control very difficult. Abutilon theophrasti can also be found on roadsides and in gardens.
To report please phone the Ministry for Primary Industries Pest & Diseases Hotline 0800 80 99 66.
Abutilon theophrasti has a deep taproot and is capable of growing up to 2 m tall. It has velvety, hairy, heart-shaped leaves 15–25 cm broad. The yellow-orange flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and appear over the summer months. They are 4 cm diameter and mature into button-shaped capsules which split lengthwise to release the seeds. Individual velvetleaf plants produce up to 15,000 seeds so it can quickly become a big problem. The flowers and plants have a fruity scent.
Seed head releasing seeds
Thanks to Wikipedia for text and Information: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/