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aturalized Photo: Maniruddin Dhabak
Common name: Velvet-Leaf, Buttonweed, Velvetleaf, China Jute, Butterprint, Pie-marker, Indian Mallow • Bengali: jaya • Sanskrit: jaya
Botanical name: Abutilon theophrasti    Family: Malvaceae (Mallow family)
Synonyms: Sida planiflora, Abutilon avicennae, Malva abutilon

Velvet-Leaf is an annual herb, growing up to 1 m tall, and has velvet-like heart-shaped leaves 15-25 cm broad. The flowers are yellow or orange, 4 cm across, maturing into button-shaped capsules which split lengthwise to release the seeds. The flowers and plants have a fruity scent. Velvetleaf grows primarily in cropland, especially corn fields, and it can also be found on roadsides and in gardens. Velvetleaf prefers rich and cultivated soils, such as those used in agriculture. Velvetleaf has been grown in China since around 2000 BCE for its strong, jute-like fibre. The leaves are edible, stir-fried or in omelette. The seeds are eaten in China and Kashmir. Velvet-Leaf is native to Central Asia to China, cultivated and naturalized in India.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh Photographed in Gujarat & Kashmir.

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