Isolation Antidotes (34): A Brace of Beauties: Abutilon

We’re still cautious of leaving our bubbles, so I’ve been joining many of you in foraging close to home for photo fodder. Just outside our kitchen window grows a sparse but persistent abutilon. I have included it in two past posts (here and here) as co-star to the main roles dominated by the magnificent tui, but today I’d like to let it stand in its own spotlight without the distraction of being upstaged. It rained yesterday, and as I went out for some chores, these two nodded (and winked) at me and volunteered for portraits. The branches on which they grow are long and slender, and the slightest breeze will set them to bobbing around, but with patience and perseverance, I was able to get a couple of satisfactory results. (As usual, click on the photo for an enlarged and more detailed view.)

About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
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21 Responses to Isolation Antidotes (34): A Brace of Beauties: Abutilon

  1. Platypus Man says:

    So the support act gets top billing at last! Well deserved, seems like a decent performer. Incidentally, I enjoyed the phrase “foraging close to home for photo fodder”, wish I’d written that!

  2. Timelesslady says:

    I bought some seeds to grow this plant…still need to get them in seed starter. I’m hoping to grow them as a houseplant through the winter.

  3. What Abutilon species is that? I assume my New Zealand rule of thumb applies: if you see it, it’s not native. In Austin the common native one is Abutilon fruticosum, whose flowers are small and colored like the ones in your picture.

    • krikitarts says:

      There are quite a variety of possibilities that turn up with a quick search, and there are hundreds of varieties and hybrids as well. Do a Google search for “abutilon nz” click on Images, and you’ll see what I mean. One likely candidate seems to me to be A. megapotamicum “halo.” But short answer, we have no idea exactly what we have, but we like it!

      • The “great river” designated by megapotamicum seems like it could be the Amazon or perhaps the Río da la Plata, whose huge estuary is formed formed by the confluence of the Uruguay and the Paraná rivers.

      • krikitarts says:

        I’ve been on the south bank of the Río da la Plata when I visited Uruguay in 2021, and close to the Paraná when I was in Argentina in 2004–and colleagues took me fishing on the nearby Río Leyes. It’s a fascinating part of the world!

  4. Peter Klopp says:

    What a lovely floral composition!

  5. shoreacres says:

    We don’t have any Abutilon species in my area, but A. fruticosum comes close, and there are several other native species. I’ve seen many cultivars in British blogs focused on gardening, so it seems to be one of those plants that fell out of favor, and now is coming back. It looks like one of our mallows in the process of fading.

    • krikitarts says:

      They are also known as flowering maple, Chinese lantern, Chinese bell flower, mallow, and Indian mallow–so it’s not surprising that it looks like one of your mallows, although common names used in different parts of the world are by no means a reliable indication of any real similarity. The very beautiful NZ goldfinch (, for example, looks nothing like what comes to mind in the US when we hear the name. BTW, I see them with some regularity in the tiny orchard in our back garden.

  6. cindy knoke says:

    We have one growing by our dining nook windows.

    • krikitarts says:

      What birds are attracted to it where you are? Our tui and silvereyes are very good and perching close to the base of the flowers and probing into their deep recesses through the gaps between the petals at their bases, rather than through the main opening.

  7. bluebrightly says:

    Such a beautiful composition for these flowers, Gary.

    • krikitarts says:

      Thanks, Lynn, and I didn’t have to arrange them at all (except to gently tether the branch to a nearby solid object so they’d stay still enough in the puffs of breeze).

  8. The richness in the colours are certainly outstanding. Beautifully composed, Gary.

    • krikitarts says:

      It’s just a bit disappointing that I can’t put a definite species to it. There are so many, as I replied to Steve, above, that we can’t be sure. We sure do like it though, and I’m glad you did too.

  9. Lovely flowers and a commanding composition, Gary. We have two Abutilon species here in New England, neither of which are native and none in my locale.

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