Abutilon pictum (MALVACEAE) Flowering Maple, Chinese Lantern

Weeds to Whack

Abutilon pictum is a a shrub growing to 5 m tall native to Brazil, a popular ornamental plant in subtropical gardens and has become naturalised in Central America. A large and relatively dense population of this species (consisting of dozens of large plants up to 2 m tall) was discovered growing on the creek near the junction of Riaweena and Illowra Streets The Gap. The naturalisation was recorded by the Queensland Herbarium Thursday 14 February 2007.
Photo: Sheldon Navie


Leaves 5-15 cm long, three to five (rarely seven) lobed. This photo shows a five-lobed form. Note the resemblance to maple leaves, hence the common name.
Photo: Robert Whyte

Flower Close-up

Flowers are yellow to red, prominently veined darker red, with five petals 2-4 cm long, very attractive and tropical looking. They hang and never open fully. Pictum means painted.
Photo: Robert Whyte


The fruit are typically Malvaceous (mallow) family. Abutilon comes from the Arabic word for a mallow-like plant. It is hairy with segments containing seeds which become accessible when the fruit matures and dries out.
Photo: Robert Whyte