Plant Identification: Yellow Flowers With Large Leaves

Plants are commonly identified by their foliage and/or flower colors. This includes yellow plants with large foliage known as velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti Medic.), a native of China and India. The plant was introduced in the U.S. in the late 17th century.


Velvetleaf grows 3 to 8 feet tall and is covered entirely with furlike, fine hair. The large, pointed, heart-shaped foliage is 2 to 12 inches wide. The summer annual blooms with five-petaled, 1-inch flowers that grow singly or in clusters. Velvetleaf produces cup-shaped pods filled with two to nine, gray-brown, 1/8-inch seeds.


The tough, fibrous stems of the plant have been used to make rugs and paper in China since 2000 B.C. The plant also was used for making fishing nets, rope and twine in China. The seeds were used as a food item in India and China.


Velvetleaf is among the major cropland weeds in the U.S. and thrives in the fertile soil of cattle yards and feeding lots. The plant also spreads in vacant lots, roadsides and cultivated gardens. Velvetleaf is particularly troublesome in corn and soybeans. The plant does not grow well at higher elevations and areas with dry climates.

About the Author

Irum Sarfaraz is a freelance writer with over 20 years of nonfiction writing experience in newspaper op-eds and magazine writing, book editing, translating and research writing. Sarfaraz is originally from Pakistan and has been published in both American and Pakistani newspapers and magazines. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature, and diplomas in nonfiction writing.