This tall, non-native summer annual is a Class B noxious weed with a limited distribution in King County. Property owners are required to control this plant when it occurs on their property. Velvetleaf is occasionally found near farms, roadsides and ornamental gardens. Because of the potential damage this weed could cause to cropland and other resources and the difficulty to control it once it is established, early detection and effective, rapid response is essential.
Velvetleaf is also on the Washington quarantine list (known as the prohibited plants list) and it is prohibited to transport, buy, sell, offer for sale, or to distribute plants or plant parts, seeds in packets, blends or "wildflower mixes" of this species, into or within the state of Washington.
Velvetleaf grows 3 to 8 feet tall on stout, branched stems and is covered with very soft, velvety hairs. It is a summer annual, which means that it germinates in the spring and flowers in the summer, typically from July to September in this area.
Leaves are large and heart-shaped with pointed tips. Leaves are alternate (grow at different points along the stem), have long, stout leaf stalks and have a distinct odor when crushed.
Flowers are yellow, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter, with five petals that are fused at the base. Flowers grow on stalks and are found singly or in clusters where the leaf stalk meets the stem.
The plant produces pod-like capsules that consists of a cup-like ring formed by 12 to 15 woody segments. The segments stay joined when the seeds mature and they release the seeds through vertical slits on the outside of the capsule.
Biology and reproduction
Velvetleaf is a summer annual that reproduces by seed. It is self-pollinating so it doesn't require pollinators to set seed.