Abutilon theophrasti Medik.

Chingma Lantern

Malven-famil. 28 (1787) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Upright annual to 100 cm tall; branchlets densely tomentose with simple glandular and sessile stellate hairs. Leaves broadly ovate, 1.5–18 cm long, 1.5–16 cm wide, slightly discolorous; base cordate; apex abruptly acuminate. Flowers solitary or in racemes; calyx 5-ribbed, campanulate, 6–10 mm long; lobes ovate, lined on the acuminate to acute apex; corolla yellow, exceeding calyx; lobes 7–8.5 mm long, rounded apically, not ciliate at base; staminal column c. 1 mm long, glabrous; styles 10–12. Fruit blackish, 10–15 mm high, tomentose, adjacent mericarps adhering for three-quarters or more of their surface, tardily separating; mericarps 3-seeded, c. 13 mm high, 5.5 mm wide, with apical awn 2.5–4.5 mm long, pointing outwards or upwards. Flowering late spring, summer and autumn.

*LoM, *MuF, *MuM, *MSB, *RobP, *VRiv, *Wim. Naturalised all mainland States. Native to Mediterranean region, Asia. Occurs in clay soil in shallowly inundated areas (e.g. Hattah Lakes, Lake Wallawalla, Kerang, Natimuk areas).

Fibre from A. theophrasti was used in the Americas and India for the manufacture of string, rope and fishing nets, and in addition the oil from the plant can be used as a food source or in the manufacture of soap. It seems likely that this aggressive plant may have been deliberately introduced in the 1800s for these purposes.

Source: Barker, R.M. (1996). Abutilon. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-11-08
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Rosanae
order Malvales
family Malvaceae
genus Abutilon
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <http://avh.chah.org.au>. Find Abutilon theophrasti in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Abutilon theophrasti in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present naturalised
Murray Mallee present naturalised
Wimmera present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Murray Scroll Belt present naturalised
Robinvale Plains present naturalised
Murray Fans present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory