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Velvetleaf

Abutilon theophrasti Medicus


Family: Malvaceae

Habit: summer annual

Habitat: Important weed of agronomic crops such as corn and soybeans.

Similar Species: Common mallow (Malva neglecta) seedlings are also heart-shaped but lack hairs and mature leaves are round not heart-shaped.


Ecology

Management:

Velvetleaf is most easily controlled by repeated cultivation early in the growing season. Delayed planting until early June, either with or without prior tillage, allows many seeds to germinate and be killed by seedbed preparation. Because the seeds are relatively large, velvetleaf can emerge through even thick (3 to 5 inch or 7.6 to 12.7 cm) layers of organic mulch materials. Velvetleaf growth and maturation is sensitive to day length and late emerging individuals grow slowly and can easily be removed before they become competitive or set seed. Because the seeds persist so well in the soil, this species should never be allowed to shed seeds in the garden. The species matures slowly, however, so preventing seed production in gardens is relatively easy.