This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the
context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of
all available Web resources for a particular genus.
Visit for links to my other botanical web pages.
January 2003 will be the last entry for Genus of the Month. For several months I have not been able to update this site as frequently as I would have liked, and I have decided it is time to fully direct my energies to my other web sites.
Since I first created "Genus of the Week" in 1997, the internet resources available for those interested in plant taxonomy have increased greatly. If this is your interest as well, two good places to start are the GRIN taxonomy database and the USDA's PLANTS database. This site will remain online indefinitely, but will not be updated. I found these pages to be very useful as a way of increasing my botanical knowledge, and I hope that you find them useful as well.
This month's genus:
Number of Species: around 25
Root: word created by the Arabic philosopher Avicenna meaning "plant resembling a mallow or mulberry"; first used for the genus in the 18th century by Philip Miller, chief gardener at the Chelsea Physic Garden. (Source)
While you may not recognize the name Abutilon, there are many ornamental species in this genus that you probably would recognize, including the Chinese Lanterns. There is also one notorious member of this genus, A. theophrasti (Velvetleaf), which is known as a weed across the U.S.
Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Abutilon species:
- You can see photos I took of the invasive species A. theophrasti if you visit the CalPhotos web site. The photos were taken recently in Dorchester, MA. Learn more about the problems that this species causes for agriculture by visiting this government website from British Columbia.
- The Arcadian Archives website has information about ornamental Abutilon species.
- Visit the Abutilon Gallery for some beautiful flower photos.
- A. theophrasti has invaded an entire field in this photo from the Nature Conservancy's Invasives on the Web.
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
Current Genus of the Week
Jenn's Home Page