Velvetleaf, Abutilon theophrasti

Life Cycle



Reproducing only by seed.


1-2 m tall and occasionally taller, much-branched in the upper part, finely soft-hairy.


Alternate (1 per node), broadly heart shaped, large, 7-10 cm wide with a sharp-pointed apex, shallowly round-toothed, soft-hairy and velvety to the touch.

Flowers and Fruit

Flowers single or in small clusters from the leaf axils, each with 5 large sepals and 5 yellow to yellow-orange petals that are 1 - 2.5 cm wide when open. The filaments united to form a central column as in the mallows (as (e) in Figure 116C). The fruit from each flower is a circular cluster of 12 to 15 seedpods about 1 - 2.5 cm long (B) at first green but turning dark brown to black at maturity. Each individual pod (a) opening with a vertical slit down its back and containing several purplish-brown "V-shaped" seeds about 1mm thick and 2-3 mm long. Flowers from late July until Autumn.

Roots and Underground Structures

A fibrous root system with a shallow taproot


Velvetleaf occurs most commonly in southern Ontario where it is found mainly in corn, soybean and other annually tilled crops.


Corn yield loss (%)*: 4 % at 1 plant/m2 15 % at 5 plant/m2 Soybean yield loss (%)*: 6 % at 1 plant/m2 23 % at 5 plant/m2 *assumes that the weed has emerged with the crop and has been left uncontrolled all season.

Distinguishing Features

It is distinguished by its erect habit of growth, large alternate, valentine-shaped leaves which are soft velvety to the touch, its yellow to yellow-orange flowers, each with a central column of stamens, its ring of several seedpods (B) produced from each flower, and in late autumn by the rather grotesque appearance of its erect, branched, brownish to blackish stem with many erect clusters of seedpods.


Velvetleaf is not known to be toxic.

Human Health Issues

Velvetleaf is not a known allergen.

Forage Quality

No information exists at this time.

Power Ranking Corn

Power Ranking

↑ 4


Power Ranking Soybeans

Power Ranking

↑ 5


Biological Control

Currently None Available for this weed. For the latest research on biological weed control:

Biopesticide Control

Currently None Available for this weed.

Herbicide Resistance

No documented cases of herbicide resistance to date. For more information on weed resistance:

Figure #1.

Velvetleaf: A. Upper part of flowering stem. B. Cluster of seedpods.

Figure #2.

Velvetleaf cotyledons.

Figure #3.

Velvetleaf leaf.

Figure #4.

Velvetleaf plant prior to flowering.

Figure #5.

Velvetleaf flower.

Figure #6.

Cluster of seedpods.