Come Fly the Coop with Me Gardening and Plants Chingma Abutilon Plant — A Gift from Above

Chingma Abutilon Plant — A Gift from Above

Each year, I find one or two delightful donations in the yard. I can only assume they come from the birds passing over. Earlier this spring, I found some ramps, also known as wild leeks or wild onions, but this summer, I discovered this beautiful chingma abutilon plant.

I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first. I plant tons of sunflowers, so I thought the leaves might be just a bit odd. But something told me it wasn’t something I had started from seed. 

Thanks to my handy Plant Story app, I quickly solved the mystery. Also known as a velvet leaf or Chinese jute, it was a pleasant addition to my planned garden.

Let’s learn more about this beautiful plant with delicate, cup-like pods known as lanterns. 

What Is a Chingma Lantern Plant? 

Typically consisting of delicate cup-like pods that bloom to a bright yellow inverted thimble or Christmas bell shape, the chingma lantern is an ornamental understory tree. 

An understory tree plays a vital role in an ecosystem, reaching heights ranging from 15-49 feet beneath larger trees and their canopies. My chingma peaked at around 10 feet in early September and didn’t bloom like I had hoped. I saw some peeks of yellow that never popped through the cups. However, the chingma isn’t exactly a natural fit for my ecosystem, typically. 

But the leaves alone were worth keeping it as long as it thrived. Large and velvety like sunflowers, providing some shade for kales and greens beneath the tree.

I considered trying to save some seeds and planting some next year, but I ultimately let it run its course, especially since many people consider it invasive and work hard to eradicate any on their property.

Besides, I figure the birds will bring another unique gift next season! 

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