Abutilon oxycarpum (MALVACEAE); Flannel weed, small-flowered abutilon, lantern bush

Image: Leaves with fruit capsule
Image: Form

Image: Leaves with fruit capsule

Aabutilon oxycarpum
Small shrub to 2m, found on the margins of both dry and subtropical rainforest, and in post-clearing regrowth, from Qld to Victoria; at least three distinct forms are recognized in SE Qld. Also found in SA,WA and NT.

Leaves simple, alternate to 6cm in length, with crenate margins; ovate, lanceolate or heart-shaped. Blade soft and thin. All parts of leavy shoots softly hairy, a dusty grey-green to green in colour. Venation conspicuous, with all veins impressed above and raised below. Narrow stipules (leafy outgrowths) to 4mm obvious on young shoots.

Flowers small, yellow, arising singly or in pairs from leaf axils, on stalks to 5cm in length. Appear Sept to Dec.

Fruit a hairy capsule to about 8mm, with pointed segments. Ripe late spring to summer.

Propagate by seed, but germination erratic; seedlings need to be coddled.

A useful garden plant if well-watered and fertilized, becoming more luxuriant than as seen in the wild. Requires free drainage. Prone to insect damage.

In the same family as hibiscus, including the native hibiscus, H. heterophyllus.

Image: FormBack to top

Abutilon oxycarpum
Sometimes confused with similar looking species such as Cunningham's Jute (Corchorus cunninghamii) and Poison Peach (Trema tomentosa), when not in flower.

Can be mistaken for undesirables, especially the closely related Abutilon grandifolium native to Central and South America - a well known weed in the Pacific region the USA, New Zealand and Australia.

It is useful to note that Abutilon grandifolium is NOT Abutilon grandiflorum the latter being a garden plant from Africa with no known weed risk.

SOWN page on this plant