The scientific name, Abutilon striatum consists of a term of Arabic origin, abu tilun: this was the name given by the Persian physician Avicena (980-1037) to a plant that had similar characteristics, the Indian mallow, On the other hand, the Latin term striatum, ´fluted´, refers to the shape of the bark.
Nevertheless, the Chinese lantern is a plant that comes from tropical America and was therefore hardly known by Avicenna or other doctors from the medieval Islam. The Spaniards who came to America after 1492 wanted to recognize in the Chinese Lantern, that they saw for the first time, that other Indian mallow they had seen in old books. Hence, they gave a name already registered to something new. This phenomenon was quite common in the initial moments of European contact with America: the newly discovered was named after the known parameters because it was thought that these lands were part of Eurasia, the world as it was conceived from Antiquity . For Europeans to recognize that these plants were new implied that Christopher Columbus had not been around the world and discovered a new route to 'the Indies' as it was then called the Far East, instead it meant that they were in a New World.
Along with other products and precious metals, many of these plants from America first came to Europe across the river Guadalquivir, that's why Sevilla was known during the 16th and 17th centuries as a port and door of America.