By Phran Novelli
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - So, this little plant sprouted up with heart-shaped leaves and I thought, that’s cute, let’s see what it turns out to be shall we? OK, let’s not, because once I found out what it was, (a plant that goes by the Latin name Abutilon theophrasti), it had grown just a few inches high and already started producing some of its pretty, swirled seed pods.
History tells us that the pods were once used to imprint butter, giving this plant one of its common names of ‘butter weed,’ but it’s better known as ‘Velvet Leaf.’
I hadn’t touched it before I identified it, but when I learned it was introduced from overseas long ago and is now an invasive crop weed across the US, I pulled it out and felt how velvety soft those heart-shaped leaves really are.
Less heartwarming, is that this alien plant has a serious taproot, can grow over 5 feet high, and just one plant can produce thousands of seeds, which if they get tilled under the soil can keep sprouting for decades!
Check the photo here to help you identify what ‘Velvet leaf’ looks like so you can go pluck it out of your garden.