The first ID of the season is Velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrastii), a member of the mallow family. As you might have guessed, the plant has velvety leaves, large and heart-shaped, alternate, growing from a single (velvety) stalk. They can grow very tall (up to 7 feet), but thankfully mine have remained a manageable 2½ feet. They're still completely out of proportion for the scale of my balcony, but the tactile quality of the plant means they'll be sticking around until the end of the season.
|Velvety, palm-sized leaf.|
|Two velvetleaf plants, one bigger, one smaller.|
The cool-looking "king's crown" seed pods are what motivated me to collect the seeds. I had a 20% germination rate with mine, but germination can be erratic, and the seeds can persist for a very long time in the soil.
|Dried velvetleaf seed pods. By Boby Dimitrov on flickr.|
Here's some more useful information about the plant from the Illinois Wildflowers site..