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Vascular Plants of California
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Abutilon theophrasti

Higher Taxonomy
Family: MalvaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to tree; generally with stellate hairs, often with bristles or peltate scales; juice generally mucilage-like; bark fibrous. Leaf: generally cauline, alternate, petioled, simple [palmate-compound], generally palmate-lobed and/or veined, generally toothed, evergreen or not; stipules persistent or not. Inflorescence: head, spike, raceme, or panicle, in panicle or not (a compound panicle), or flowers >= 1 in leaf axils, or flowers generally 1 opposite a leaf or on a spur; bracts leaf-like or not; bractlets 0 or on flowering stalks, often closely subtending calyx, generally in involucel. Flower: generally bisexual, radial; sepals 5, generally fused at base, abutting in bud, larger in fruit or not, nectaries as tufts of glandular hairs at base; petals (0)5, free from each other but generally fused at base to, falling with filament tube, clawed or not; stamens 5--many, filaments fused for most of length into tube around style, staminodes 5, alternate stamens, or generally 0; pistil 1, ovary superior, stalked or generally not, chambers generally >= 5, styles or style branches, stigmas generally 1 or 1--2 × chamber number. Fruit: loculicidal capsule, [berry], or 5--many, disk- or wedge-shaped segments (= mericarps).
Genera In Family: 266 genera, 4025 species: worldwide, especially warm regions; some cultivated (e.g., Abelmoschus okra; Alcea hollyhock; Gossypium cotton; Hibiscus hibiscus). Note: Recently treated to include Bombacaceae, Sterculiaceae, Tiliaceae. Mature fruit needed for identification; "outer edges" are surfaces between sides and back (abaxial surface) of segment. "Flower stalk" used instead of "pedicel," "peduncle," especially where both needed (i.e., when flowers both 1 in leaf axils and otherwise).
eFlora Treatment Author: Steven R. Hill, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Steven R. Hill, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: AbutilonView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb to shrub, stellate-canescent, tomentose, or bristly. Stem: generally erect (decumbent). Leaf: cordate to ovate, lobes generally 0(3), crenate or toothed. Inflorescence: panicle or flowers 1 in leaf axils; bracts leaf-like or not; involucel 0. Flower: petals yellow, yellow-orange, orange-pink, to +- red; anthers at top of filament tube; stigmas head-like. Fruit: capsule-like, +- cylindric to +- spheric, segments generally not separating fully from each other or from pl, smooth-sided, dehiscent at top, generally with beak splitting in 2, walls firm to woody. Seed: 3--6(15) per segment.
Species In Genus: 200 species: warm regions. Etymology: (Arabic name, possibly from abu, father of, and Persian tula or tulha, mallow)
eFlora Treatment Author: Paul A. Fryxell & Steven R. Hill
Reference: Fryxell 1988 Syst Bot Monogr 25:24--68
Unabridged Reference: Borssum Waalkes 1966 Blumea 14:159--177
Abutilon theophrasti Medik.
Habit: Annual, generally scented when bruised. Stem: erect, (5)10--20 dm, generally few-branched, glandular. Leaf: blade generally 10--20 cm wide, shallowly crenate, velvety, densely stellate-hairy to tomentose. Inflorescence: panicle or flowers 1 in leaf axils. Flower: calyx 6.5--10 mm, < fruit; petals 6--8(14) mm, yellow to orange. Fruit: segments > 10, 5--15-seeded, long-soft-hairy, beaks 3--5 mm, back-pointing. Chromosomes: 2n=42.
Ecology: Uncommon. Disturbed places; Elevation: generally < 100 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCoRI, GV (esp ScV), SCoRO, SW, D; Distribution Outside California: widespread worldwide; native to southern Asia. Flowering Time: Jul--Sep Note: Generally weedy; reported from 42 California cos. (Holt & Boose 2000 Weed Science 48:43--52); seeds long-lived.
Unabridged Note: In 25 of 33 cos. reported in 1991 by one study (UC survey; T. Lanini), historically or currently in 42 of 58 cos. in California by another (Holt, J.S. and A.B. Boose. 2000. Potential for spread of Abutilon theophrasti in California. Weed Science 48:43--52). Cos. where it has NOT been reported are: 12 mountain cos. (Del Norte, Siskiyou, Modoc, Lassen, Plumas, Sierra, Nevada, Placer, Alpine, Amador, Tuolumne, Mariposa cos.), along with Marin, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Monterey cos. Also according to the 1991 study, currently most common in Colusa, Fresno, Riverside, and Yolo cos., and since 1980 reported as new in at least these cos.: Alameda, Colusa, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Lake, San Benito, Shasta, and Ventura, in addition to those listed above known to be current.
Jepson eFlora Author: Paul A. Fryxell & Steven R. Hill
Reference: Fryxell 1988 Syst Bot Monogr 25:24--68
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Abutilon theophrasti

botanical illustration including Abutilon theophrasti


Citation for this treatment: Paul A. Fryxell & Steven R. Hill 2012, Abutilon theophrasti, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=11605, accessed on May 24, 2020.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2020, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 24, 2020.

Abutilon theophrasti
click for enlargement
© 2007 Neal Kramer
Abutilon theophrasti
click for enlargement
© 2007 Neal Kramer
Abutilon theophrasti
click for enlargement
© 2007 Neal Kramer

More photos of Abutilon theophrasti in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Abutilon theophrasti:
NCoRI, GV (esp ScV), SCoRO, SW, D
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


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Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).