WSU Extension


Weeds : Velvetleaf : Abutilon theophrasti
(revision date: 2/12/2019)

Family: Malvaceae
Cycle: Summer annual
Plant Type: Broadleaf

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful weed management.

Velvetleaf is an annual weed that typically grows between three and seven feet tall. Broad, heart-shaped leaves (up to five inches wide) alternate on the upright, branching stems. Five to seven main veins radiate from the base of each leaf. All parts of the plant are covered with soft hairs. The flowers have five separate yellow to yellow-orange petals and are about an inch in diameter. They typically appear from June to October. Seeds are borne in hairy, beaked capsules similar to those of common garden hollyhocks, to which velvetleaf is related. The seeds are extremely hardy, surviving fifty years or more in the soil. Seedling plants are also hairy, and may have purplish stems. SPECIAL INFORMATION: Seeds can remain viable for more than fifty years, making this plant difficult to eradicate. Prevent seed formation! In WASHINGTON, velvetleaf is designated as a Class 'B' noxious weed. In OREGON, it is designated as a Class 'B' noxious weed. Control may be required in your county. In addition, velvetleaf is on the on both the Washington and Oregon noxious weed quarantine lists, which prohibit sale, purchase, and transport of plants, seeds, and plant parts. Consult your local Noxious Weed Control Board for more information.
Velvetleaf is commonly found in rich soils. It often grows in cultivated fields and gardens, along fencerows, and in waste areas.

Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Reduce weed establishment by maintaining a healthy planting or turf area to provide competition.
  • Reduce weed infestation by handpulling weeds.
  • Careful digging is useful to manage weed populations. However, digging can carry undesirable weed seed to the surface and foster further germination.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Apply according to label instructions. It is usually not a problem in healthy established turf. Glyphosate products should be applied as spot treatments only! NOTE: Some ingredients listed here are only available in combination. Read the label carefully on combination products to make sure the product is suitable for your specific situation.

Landscape areas
  • glyphosate
Turf areas
  • products containing 2,4-D
  • 2,4-D + MCPP + dicamba
Bare ground areas
  • glyphosate
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Caption: Velvetleaf
Photo by: J.A. Kropf
Caption: Velvetleaf flower
Photo by: J.A. Kropf