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Abutilon theophrasti
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malvales
Family: Malvaceae
Subfamily: Malvoideae
Tribe: Malveae
Genus: Abutilon

about 200, see text

  • Abortopetalum O.Deg. (1932)
  • Abutilaea F.Muell. (1852)
  • Abutilothamnus Ulbr. (1915)
  • Bastardia Kunth (1822)
  • Bastardiopsis (K.Schum.) Hassl. (1910)
  • Beloere Shuttlew. (1852)

Abutilon /əˈbjuːtɪlɒn/[3] is a large genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae.[4] It is distributed throughout the tropics and subtropics[5] of the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Australia.[6] General common names include Indian mallow[7] and velvetleaf;[8] ornamental varieties may be known as room maple, parlor maple, or flowering maple. The genus name is an 18th-century Neo-Latin word[9] that came from the Arabic ’abū-ṭīlūn (أبو طيلون),[10] the name given by Avicenna to this or a similar genus.[11]

The type species is Abutilon theophrasti. Several species formerly placed in Abutilon, including the cultivated species and hybrids commonly known as "flowering maples", have recently (2012, 2014) been transferred to the new genus Callianthe.


Plants of this genus include herbs, shrubs, and trees.[5] They range in height from about 0.5 to 3 meters (1.5 to 10 feet).[12] The herbage is generally hairy to woolly or bristly.[13] The leaf blades are usually entire, but the occasional species has lobed leaves. They are palmately veined and have wavy or serrated edges. Flowers are solitary, paired, or borne in small inflorescences in the leaf axils or toward the branch tips. The calyx is bell-shaped with five lobes. The corolla is usually bell-shaped to wheel-shaped, with five petals joined at the bases.

The flowers of wild species are most often yellow or orange,[5] but can be red or pinkish, sometimes with a darker center. The stamens are fused into a tube lined at the mouth with anthers. Inside the tube is the branching style with head-like stigmas. The fruit is a rounded or hemispherical schizocarp with up to 20 segments, each containing a few seeds.[5][13]


There are about 200 species in the genus.[5][13] Plants of the World Online accepts 177 species.[2]

Species include:[7][14][2]


Formerly placed here[edit]


Some abutilons are cultivated as garden plants. Several hybrids and cultivars have been developed.

Cultivars, hybrids, and species that have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit include:

Abutilons can be propagated from seed or via cuttings. A. megapoticum is grown as a house plant, but needs considerable light, including several hours of sunlight per day, and moderate temperatures of 61 to 74 °F (16 to 23 °C). The best potting medium is a loose soil rich in organic material and sand and watered when dry to the touch. The amount of watering should be reduced from November to March and the plant pruned back one third at the end of this rest period. The plant is prone to attack by scale insects. The plant is best replaced every two to three years with new specimens.[30]



  1. ^ "Abutilon Mill". Tropicos. Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  2. ^ a b c Abutilon Mill. Plants of the World Online. Retrieved 18 June 2023.
  3. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book. 1995. 606–07.
  4. ^ Fryxell, Paul (November 2002). "An Abutilon nomenclator (Malvaceae)" (PDF) (5): 79–118. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ a b c d e Abutilon. Flora of China.
  6. ^ Esteves, G. L.; Krapovickas, A. (2002). "New Species of Abutilon (Malvaceae) from Sao Paulo State, Brazil". Kew Bulletin. 57 (2): 479. Bibcode:2002KewBu..57..479E. doi:10.2307/4111131. JSTOR 4111131.
  7. ^ a b Abutilon. Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).
  8. ^ Genus: Abutilon Mill. Archived 2014-04-29 at the Wayback Machine Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).
  9. ^ "abutilon". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  10. ^ Porcher, Michel H. (2006). "Sorting plant names: Arabic index". Multilingual, Multiscript Plant Name Database. University of Melbourne.
    Transcribed as abū-taylūn in the Plant Index. The New Oxford American Dictionary (3rd edition) gives ūbūṭīlūn
  11. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Abutilon" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.: written aubūtīlūn in both Britannica and the OED.
  12. ^ Hildyard, A. (2001). Endangered Wildlife and Plants of the World. Marshall Cavendish. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-7614-7194-3.
  13. ^ a b c Abutilon. The Jepson eFlora 2013.
  14. ^ "GRIN Species Records of Abutilon". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
  15. ^ Britton, N. L.; C. F. Millspaugh (1920). "Malvaceae". The Bahama Flora. The authors. p. 264.
  16. ^ Britton & Millspaugh, p. 266
  17. ^ "Abutilon megapotamicum". RHS. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  18. ^ "Abutilon × milleri". RHS. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  19. ^ "Abutilon 'Canary Bird'". RHS. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  20. ^ "Abutilon 'Cannington Carol'". RHS. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  21. ^ "Abutilon 'Cannington Peter'". RHS. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  22. ^ "Abutilon 'Kentish Belle'". RHS. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  23. ^ "Abutilon 'Linda Vista Peach". RHS. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  24. ^ "Abutilon 'Marion'". RHS. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  25. ^ "Abutilon 'Nabob'". RHS. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  26. ^ "Abutilon 'Orange Glow". RHS. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  27. ^ "Abutilon 'Savitzii'". RHS. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  28. ^ "Abutilon 'Souvenir de Bonn'". RHS. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  29. ^ "Abutilon 'Veronica Tennant'". RHS. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  30. ^ Chiusoli, Alessandro; Boriani, Luisa Maria (1986). Simon & Schuster's guide to houseplants. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0671631314.

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