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[[Category: Biological of ]]
Current revision as of 19:39, 18 April 2011
Abutilon theophrasti (Velvetleaf, China Jute, Buttonweed, Butterprint, Pie-marker or Indian Mallow) is an annual plant in the family Malvaceae, native to southern Asia. It grows to 1 m tall, and has velvet-like heart-shaped leaves 15–25 cm broad. The flowers are yellow, 4 cm diameter, maturing into button-shaped seed pods. In midwestern and northeastern regions of the United States, eastern Canada and the eastern Mediterranean, A. theophrasti is considered a damaging weeds to agricultural crops, especially corn and soybeans.
Cultivation and uses
Velvetleaf has been grown in China since around 2000 BCE for its strong, jute-like fibre. The seeds are eaten in China and Kashmir. The leaves are also edible. The flowers and plants have a fruity scent.
Velvetleaf grows primarily in cropland, especially corn fields, and it can also be found on roadsides and in gardens. Velvetleaf prefers rich and cultivated soils, such as those used in agriculture.
After being introduced to North America in the 18th century, velvetleaf has become an invasive species in agricultural regions of the eastern and midwestern United States. It is one of the most detrimental weeds to corn causing decreases of up to 34% of crop yield if not controlled and costing hundreds of millions of dollars per year in control and damage. Velvetleaf is an extremely competitive plant, so much so that it can steal nutrients and water away from crops. Velvetleaf is controllable by herbicides.