Abutilon theophrasti Medikus


Malvaceae (Mallow Family)






Chingma Velvet Leaf

                                             June Photo


Plant Characteristics:  Stout, erect, annual, 1-2 m. tall, lvs. simple, alternate, ovate-orbicular, cordate, palmately-veined, velvety; fls. yellow, 6-8 mm. long, on short pedicels; calyx 5 cleft; stamineal column anther-bearing at apex; fr. truncate-cylindric, carpels 9-15 with long divergent awns, smooth sided, hairy, dehiscent nearly to base when ripe; ovules 2 or more per carpel; seeds dark gray or black, roughened by wart-like protuberances, unequally heart-shaped, with a strap-like appendage extending from the higher lobe into a notched scar.


Habitat:  Occasional escape, (Riverside, Santa Ana Canyon, San Diego, Santa Barbara).  July-Aug.


Name:  Abutilon, the name of Arabic origin. (Munz, Flora So. Calif. 562).  Theophrasti means "of Theophrastus."  Theophrastus was a Greek, born 370 or 371 B.C. who lived to 288-287 B.C.  He wrote 9 books on The History of Plants and 6 on The Causes of Plants.  He was a student of Aristotle's.  Perhaps the plant is mentioned in his work on Botany.  (John Johnson).


General:  Rare in the study area having been found only once and this near the top of the sloping bank, close to the end of Mesa Dr. in the Santa Ana Heights area. (my comment).      The seeds retain their viability for more than fifty years when stored in a dry place or when buried in the soil.  (Robbins 294).       About 100 species in many warm regions, some cult. as ornamentals.  (Munz, Flora So. Calif. 562).


Text Ref:  Hickman, Ed. 748; Munz, Flora So. Calif. 562; Robbins et al. 294; Roberts 28.

Photo Ref:  June 88 # 24A; July 88 # 1.

Identity: by Fred Roberts, John Johnson.

First Found:  June 1988.


Computer Ref:  Plant Data 359.

Have plant specimen.

Last edit 12/26/04.  


                         July Photo                                                             July Photo