Abutilon pictum 'Gold Dust'

Common Name: flowering-maple 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Malvaceae
Zone: 9 to 12
Height: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 5.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to October
Bloom Description: Orange with red veins
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Other: Winter Interest


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-12 where this shrub is easily grown in rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade, but best leaf variegation occurs in full sun. Abhors dry conditions. Spreads by stolons. In St. Louis (Zone 6), this shrub may be grown outdoors in summer in patio containers, but must be brought indoors in fall for overwintering as soon as fall temperatures begin to dip into the mid-50 degree F. range. Indoor plants need full sun and should be placed in a bright sunny window. Container plants are best maintained at a compact 2-4’ level.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Abutilon pictum, commonly called Chinese lantern or flowering maple, is a sub-tropical broadleaf evergreen shrub of the mallow family that typically matures to 10-15’ tall. It is native to Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Branches are clad with three- to five-lobed, sparsely-hairy, dark green leaves (to 6” long). Solitary bell-shaped orange flowers with distinctive thin red veins droop lantern-like from the leaf axes on thin stalks (axillary peduncles to 6” long) in a lengthy spring to fall bloom. Flowers may bloom close to year-round in frost free sub-tropical climates. Flower structure resembles that of other mallows in that each flower (to 2 1/2” long) features 5 overlapping petals with stamens fused into a central hibiscus-like column. Fruit is a capsule with many 1-seeded compartments. This species is an important parent of the Abutilon x hybridum cultivars.

Genus name comes from the Arabic name for a mallow-like plant.

Specific epithet comes from the Latin word pictus meaning brightly marked or painted in probable reference to the red veins on the flowers.

Common name of Chinese lantern is in reference to the pendant, lantern-like flowers. Common name of flowering maple is in reference to the maple-like leaves, although botanically this shrub is a mallow that is unrelated to maples (genus Acer).

‘Gold Dust’ is a cultivar that features light green leaves heavily variegated with splotches of gold and a spring to fall bloom of pale apricot orange flowers with thin red veining.


Potential insect problems include whitefly, scale and spider mites. Mealybugs may become a problem indoors. Watch for root rot, rust, leaf spot and abutilon mosaic virus.


Beds, borders, pots or containers. Indoor plant.