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This annual, herbaceous shrub is readily identifiable by its beautiful, pale-yellow flowers. The pods and leaves are edible, and young pods can be used in stir-fry and soups either blanched or pickled. When cooked it resembles asparagus, yet it may be left raw and served in a cold salad.
Its palmate leaves are highly dissected with five to nine deep lobes. The largest, widest leaves form at the base of the plant, where there may be some small side branches. The blooms (4-5" in diameter) are pale yellow with a dark maroon to purple center eye, and emerge from the terminal end of a central flowering stalk.It is easily propagated from cuttings, easy to cultivate, relatively disease-resistant and even is considered to be of medicinal value. It is widely planted either along borders of gardens or as an intercrop throughout many traditional gardens in the tropics. A nice flowering addition to the vegetable garden.
Valued as an ornamental plant, due to its colorful and attractive flowers. The leaves are alternate, rough, hairy, heart-shaped or 3-5 lobed with serrated margins. Flowers are Hibiscus-like.
Cultivated for aromatic oil from seeds. Young leaves, shoots, and unripe seedpods are cooked as a vegetable.
Mostly used as an indoor houseplant, the flowering maple is a good alternative for those in climates that aren't suitable for maples to grow naturally. The trunk is somewhat woody, with two to three inch leaves which are quite similar to maple leaves. So far, rarely used as bonsai, but they are readily available and have 2 inch bell-shaped flowers which bloom year-round to recommend them. Shape is usually maintained through pruning, however wiring should work as long as care was taken to protect the branches. These plants do fine in ordinary potting soil.
Abutilon indicum var. hirtum (Abutilon hirtum) is harvested from the wild for local use as a source of fibre, medicines and food.