China Jute (Abutilon theophrasti)

Annual
A. avicennae. Gaertn.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
China Jute
Abutilon theophrasti
Malvaceae

A fibre obtained from the stems is used as a jute substitute[123, 169]. It is coarse but flexible and strong[169, 171]. It is also used in rope-making[46, 61]. It takes dyes well[171]. The fibre is also used for making paper, the stems are harvested in the summer, the leaves removed and the stems steamed in order to remove the fibres[189].

The seeds contain about 19% of a semi-drying oil[240].

  • Medicinal Use

    Ophthalmic. Used in the treatment of dysentery and opacity of the cornea[145, 178].

    The leaves contain 0.01% rutin and are used as a demulcent[240]. A tea made from the dried leaves is used in the treatment of dysentery and fevers[222]. A poultice of the leaves is applied to ulcers[222].

    The bark is astringent and diuretic[240].

    A tea made from the dried root is used in the treatment of dysentery and urinary incontinence[222]. It is also used to treat fevers[240].

    The seed is powdered and eaten in the treatment of dysentery, stomach-aches etc[222]. It is demulcent, diuretic, emollient, laxative and stomachic[218].

  • Edible Use

    Seeds – raw or cooked. They can be eaten raw when they are under-ripe[179]. The ripe seed is dried and ground into a powder then used in soups, bread etc[177, 178]. It is washed first to remove any bitterness[179]. The seed contains about 17.4% protein, 16% fat, 33.8% carbohydrate, 4.4% ash[179].

    Unripe fruit – raw[177]. This is really more of a seedpod[K].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow early April in a greenhouse. Germination should take place within 2 – 3 weeks. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in May or June, after the last expected frosts. An outdoor sowing in April to early May in situ could also be tried, especially in those areas with warm summers.
Requires full sun or part day shade and a fertile well-drained soil[200]. Tolerates a pH in the range 5 to 8.2. This species is cultivated for its fibre in China and Russia where it succeeds as far north as latitude 56¡n in W. Siberia[61, 123]. It is hardier and more disease-resistant than Jute (Corchorus spp.)[123]. Introduced to N. America in the eighteenth century, it has become a pestilential weed in many parts of the country[207].
Asia – tropical. Naturalised in S.E. Europe and the Mediterranean[50].

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.