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Abutilon theophrasti

Other common names: China jute, butter print, Indian mallow

report this pest request info

Important message from Waikato Regional Council

Velvetleaf is in the Waikato region. It is one of the world's worst cropping weeds and has spread to properties in the Waikato via:

  • unclean machinery
  • infested maize crops, maize silage and maize grain.

What damage does velvetleaf cause?

Velvetleaf is one of the world’s most invasive pest plants, damaging arable crops by competing with them for nutrients, space and water. It is an unwanted organism under the Biosecurity Act and, as such, entry to New Zealand is prohibited. 

More information is at:

What you can do

Landowners and farm contractors need to be vigilant about ensuring machinery is clean when entering and leaving a property, and checking any suspect maize silage and crops. Download Keep it clean: Machinery hygiene guidelines and logbook (PDF).

Farmers are encouraged to report suspected sightings of velvetleaf to our biosecurity pest plants team on 0800 BIOSEC (0800 246 732).

This will allow our staff to assess the property and then work together on a plan if we confirm the presence of velvetleaf. People finding suspect velvetleaf should:

  • photograph any plants
  • mark the location of plants so they can be found again easily.

Removing velvetleaf

There are strict protocols to assist with the safe removal of velvetleaf.

If seed heads have not formed:

  • Hand pull plants.
  • Spraying is an option where small seedlings are abundant.

If seed heads are present on the plant:

  • Carefully place a large bag over the seed capsules and flowers.
  • Tie the bag tightly around the stem.
  • Bend the stem in half.
  • Pull out the plant and place in another bag.

If seed heads have blackened:

  • Place drop sheet on the ground, tightly against the stem to catch any falling seed.
  • Carefully place a large bag over the seed capsules and secure tightly around the stem.
  • Pick up and bag any seeds which have fallen onto the drop sheet.
  • Check soil for fallen seeds or seed capsules. If seed has dropped, consider soil removal into a bag.

Contact Waikato Regional Council pest plant staff on 0800 BIOSEC (0800 246 732) for advice on disposal. Do not bury bags of velvetleaf on farm.

Download our factsheet for more information (6mb)

Fodder beet

Kyros and Bangor varieties of fodder beet seed imported in 2016 were found to be infested with velvetleaf seed. Farmers using these seed varieties are advised to take particular care to look out for the weed in their crop. It is very likely some lines of Kyros and Bangor were contaminated with the velvetleaf seed.

Any growers who still hold unsown Kyros or Bangor seed should return it to the retail outlet where it was purchased.

Do you need support?

Landowners requiring help to deal with the stress of the velvetleaf incursion are encouraged to call the Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254.

Additional information

There's velvetleaf on my farm - information for farmers (2MB)

Keep it clean: Machinery hygiene guidelines and logbook (PDF)

Click on the printer icon to download a printable copy of this factsheet >>> Click here for a printable copy of this factsheet