This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Your correspondent C. E. P. asks as to the difference between Abutilon mesopotamicum and A. vexillarium. A. mesopotamicum as I understand it, bears scarlet and yellow flowers : is of a drooping or semi-trailing habit, growing to the height of three to four feet, with plain green leaves. I find it described in the supplement of Paxton's Botanical Dictionary, new edition, 1868, page 599, as bearing scarlet flowers, etc., and is referred to Sida Bedfordiana, its synonym, and where a similar description to that in our catalogue is given. In the same supplement where this is described, A. vexillarium is also named, but as explained, comes under " the new genera upon which no remarks are given, they having either not come under the Editor's observation, or were too little known for him to venture to speak of them with confidence." I do not know where A. vexillarium originated, but I saw it for the first time at the World's fair at Vienna, amongst many other fine Hybrid Abutilons raised in continental gar-dens. It was the poorest of this class of Hybrid Abutilons; all being improvements on it, notably: vexill. brillantissimum, vexill. car-mineum, vexill. elegans, vexill. grandifloritum, vexill. venosum, vexill. floribundum, vexill. aureomarmorata, the latter being the newest although not the finest.
I imported during the two following Summers all of the above, and have most of them on hand yet. I found them all near Vienna, at a small town called Heitz-ing. These are the names I bought and imported them under; and I can assure C. E. P. that A. vexillarium and A. vexill. brillantissimum are not improvements in name only. I herewith send you a leaf of both and four others, and a translation of the grower's description which we find well borne out. " A. vexillarium flowers yellow with dark reddish and blackish brown markings. A. vexill. brillantissimum flowers brilliant salmon red, shaded and marked with dark rose, making a very rich effect, a striking variegated free flowering variety." I also add the translation of two more of those named above to give a better idea of this group, viz : A. vexill. elegans flowers carmine shaded with salmon red, marked with dark rose-colored veins. This variety blooms during the whole year. A. vexill. venosum flowers a brilliant orange shining gold color, with purple red veins, purple in the centre, extraordinary large and splendid flowers, extremely fine variety.
I regret I cannot send you some of the flowers, but send you the leaves to show the difference in them.