There is a question over the range of this species with some authorities saying it is found through tropical America, Africa and Asia. However, at least one treatment (Vollesen, Fl. Ethiopia Eritrea 2(2): 239. 1995) has separated the African form as Wissadula rostrata[
]. Unless we find further information, we are treating Wissadula rostrata as distinct and Wissadula periplocifolia as being native in the Americas and in Asia[
Abutilon hastatum Ridl.
Abutilon periplocifolium (L.) Sweet
Sida periplocifolia L.
Wissadula zeylanica Medik.
Drawing of the leaves, flowers and fruit
Photograph by: Martius, C., Eichler, A.G., Urban, I., Flora Brasiliensis, vol. 12(3): fasicle 109, p. 441, t. 77 (1891)
Wissadula periplocifolia is a subshrub producing stems that are often annual, though woody at least at their base. The stems can be from 50 - 150cm tall[
The plant yields an excellent fibre, but does not seem to be much utilized.
Tropical areas of the Americas from central Brazil to Mexico and Texas; E. Asia - Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, tropical China to Malaysia
Thickets near sea level, dry slopes, roadsides[
]. Moist thickets, wet forest, and brushy slopes in tropical America[
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The plant thrives magnificently in barren and rocky soils[
It is estimated that as much as 1 tonne of stripped bark can be obtained from a hectare, and that from 25 - 40% of cleaned fibre could be obtained from this[
Plants growing very near to each other will produce very tall stems, say from 3 - 3.6 metres tall and straight, but those that happen to grow far apart will send out side branches and make lower growth with shorter, less useful fibres[
An excellent fibre is obtained from the bark[
]. The stems strip well and readily and the bark 'retts' out, leaving a fine fibre of a type to compete with jute (Corchorus spp.)[
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