Abutilon theophrastii Medik. - Velvetleaf, China Jute.
Synonyms.Sida abutilon L., Sida tiliaefolia Fisch., Abutilon abutilon Rusby, A. avicennae Gartn.
Systematic position.Family Malvaceae, genus Abutilon.
Biological group.Spring annual weed.
Morphology and biology.Root stalky. Stem straight, cylindrical, simple or branchy above, with dense glandular hairs in upper part, with only scattered hairs below, 40-150 (250) cm in height. Leaves alternate, with long petioles, wide-ovoid, dentate, cordate at base, drawn-out at apex, gently sloping-crenate, to 15 cm in length, velvety because of dense stellate pubescence. Flowers are located in sinuses of leaves or aggregated in a racemose-paniculate inflorescence. Petals pale yellow, bell half or deeper partite. Bell lobes oval, short-pointed, with one median rib and dense pubescense consisting of stellate hairs with an admixture of glandular ones. Corona 6 to 15 mm, or 1.5-2 times bigger than bell. The fruit is a composite hairy follicle consisting of 12-15 fruitlets, having stellate shape (see from above). Seeds reniform, grayish-brown or blackish-brown, with fine albesent warts, about 4 mm in width and 1.5-1.7 mm thick. Seed is drawn-out at apex having an awn-like, backward directed point.
Distribution.The Mediterraneans, Africa, Asia, Australia and America. It is described from India. Type is deposited in London. Distributed in the European part of the FSU including Middle-Dnieper river basin (south), Upper-Volga river basin (seldom), Black Sea coast, Lower Don river basin, Trans-Volga, Lower Volga river basin; the Caucasus (Ciscaucasia, Dagestan, West, South and East Transcaucasia, Talysh Mountains); Central Asia (Aral-Caspian, Balqash, Dzhungar-Tarbagatai, Mountain-Turkmen, Kara-Kum (Garagum), Kyzyl-Kum (Qyzylqum), Amu Darya, Syr Darya, Tian Shan, Pamirs-Alai districts); the south of the Far East.
Ecology.It is widely distributed on territory of the former USSR, but grows mainly in southern-steppe and desert zones. In the south of the Far East it meets as adventive plant. Occurs almost everywhere in fields of cotton, millet, and tilled cultures, on field edges, in kitchen gardens, gardens and parks, in river valleys and depressions at wells, at estuaries, along roads. Segetal-ruderal weed. It is occasionally cultivated.
Economic significance.Widely widespread weed plant in irrigation cultures (Buch, Kachura, Shvydkaya et al, 1981). Litters crops of a cotton, millet, flax, tilled cultures (Vasilchenko, 1975; Deza, 1989; Dobrokhotov, 1961; Maisuryan, Atabekova, 1978; Ulyanova, 1998). Measures of struggle: clearing of a sowing material, Interrow processing, processing by herbicides before growth of shoots (Buch, Kachura, Shvydkaya at al, 1981). Cultivated for a long time to manufacture coarse fibers for sacking, cord, cordage, hammocks, fishing nets etc. The fibre is rather strong, water proof, whitish-gray, but rough and fragile. Seeds of the China Jute are rather rich in fat oil. Concerning the chemical characteristics, it is close to cotton, sesame, and peanut oil. This natural and, especially, purified oil is suitable for the food purposes and for hydrogenation; its worse sorts can be used for manufacture of drying oil and for the technical purposes and also in the soap-producing industry. Roots decoction and flowers tincture plays some role in folk medicine as antiphlogistic (external and internal) means. Bee plant, but having small value.
Related references:Buch T.G., Kachura N.N., Shvydkaya V.D., Andreeva E.R. 1981.Weeds of the Primorskii Territory and their control. Vladivostok: Dal.nevostochnoe knizhnoe izd-vo, 256 pp. (in Russian).
Cherepanov S.K. 1995. Vascular plants of Russia and adjacent states (of the former USSR). St.Petersburg, 991 pp. (in Russian).
Deza M.I. 1989. Keys to weed plants of Kirghizia. Frunze, 204 pp. (in Russian).
Dobrokhotov V.N. 1961. Seeds of weed plants. Moscow: Selkhozisdat, 414 p. (in Russian).
Fisyunov A.V. 1984. Weeds. Moscow: Kolos, 320 pp. (in Russian).
Grossgeim A.A. 1949. Keys to plants of the Caucasus. Moscow: Sovetskaya nauka, 747 pp. (in Russian).
Maevskii P.F. 1954. Flora of middle belt of the European part of the USSR. Moscow & Leningrad: Selkhozgiz, 912 pp. (in Russian).
Maisuryan N.A., Atabekova A.I. 1978. Keys to seeds and fruits of weed plants. Moscow: Kolos. Edition 2. 288 pp. (in Russian)Vasilchenko I.T. 1979. Keys to shoots of weed plants. Leningrad: Kolos, Edit. 2. 344 p. (in Russian).
Nikitin V.V. 1957. Weed vegetation of Turkmenia. Ashkhabad: AN TurkmSSR, 581 pp. (in Russian).
Shishkin B.K., Bobrov E.G. 1949. Flora of the USSR. V. 15. Moscow & Leningrad: AN SSSR, 742 pp. (in Russian).
Ulyanova T.N. 1998. Weed plants in flora of Russia and other CIS countries. St.Petersburg: VIR. 233 pp. (in Russian).
Vasilchenko I.T., Pidotti O.A. 1975. Keys to weed plants of regions of irrigated agriculture. Leningrad: Kolos, 375 pp. (in Russian).
Vorobev D.P. et al. 1966. Keys to plants of Primorskii Territory and Amur Region. Moscow & Leningrad: Nauka, 492 pp. (in Russian).