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Malva alcea - L.

Common Name Vervain mallow, Hollyhock Mallow
Family Malvaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards Although we have seen no reports of toxicity for this species, when grown on nitrogen rich soils (and particularly when these are cultivated inorganically), the leaves of some species tend to concentrate high levels of nitrates in their leaves[76]. The leaves are perfectly wholesome at all other times.
Habitats Gardens, vineyards and waste places[74].
Range Europe. An occasional casual in Britain.
Edibility Rating    (5 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Malva alcea Vervain mallow, Hollyhock Mallow


(c) 2010 Ken Fern & Plants For A Future
Malva alcea Vervain mallow, Hollyhock Mallow
(c) 2010 Ken Fern & Plants For A Future

 

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Summary

Bloom Color: Pink. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Early fall, Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Upright or erect.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Malva alcea is a PERENNIAL growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 0.8 m (2ft 7in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to October, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves  Oil  Oil  Seed
Edible Uses: Oil  Oil

Leaves - raw or cooked[74]. A mild pleasant flavour[K]. The leaves are mucilaginous and fairly bland, this is a very good perennial substitute for lettuce in a salad, producing fresh leaves from spring until the middle of summer, or until the autumn from self-sown plants[K]. Flowers - raw[K]. A very decorative addition to the salad bowl, they have a mild flavour and a texture similar to the leaves[K]. Seed - raw[74]. Best used before it is fully mature, the seed has a pleasant nutty taste but it is rather small and fiddly to harvest[K].

References

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Demulcent  Mouthwash

The leaves are demulcent. They are also used as a mouthwash for inflammatory and catarrhal conditions[74].

References

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Other Uses

Dye  Fibre  Oil  Oil

A fibre obtained from the stem is used for making cordage[74]. Cream, yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads[168]. The seed yields 15% oil[74]. The uses of this oil have not been given though it is almost certainly edible[K].

Special Uses

Food Forest

References

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Massing. A very easily grown plant, succeeding in ordinary garden soil[1], though it prefers a reasonably well-drained and moderately fertile soil in a sunny position[200]. A very ornamental and polymorphic plant[1, 50]. It tends to be quite short-lived in cultivation but usually self-sows when well-sited[233, K]. It is closely related to M. excisa[74]. If the plant is cut back to the ground as it comes into flower, then it will produce a fresh flush of leaves for salads[K]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233] and are seldom bothered by slugs[K]. Plants are prone to infestation by rust fungus[200]. Special Features: Not North American native, Naturalizing, Extended bloom season in Zones 9A and above. The plant is heat tolerant in zones 8 through 1. (Plant Hardiness Zones show how well plants withstand cold winter temperatures. Plant Heat Zones show when plants would start suffering from the heat. The Plant Heat Zone map is based on the number of "heat days" experienced in a given area where the temperature climbs to over 86 degrees F (30°C). At this temperature, many plants begin to suffer physiological damage. Heat Zones range from 1 (no heat days) to 12 (210 or more heat days). For example Heat Zone. 11-1 indicates that the plant is heat tolerant in zones 11 through 1.) For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is a clumper with limited spread [1-2].

References

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:

Fahrenheit:

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Propagation

Seed - best sown in early spring in a cold frame. The seed germinates quickly and easily. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in their permanent positions in the early summer[K]. If you have sufficient seed then it can be sown outdoors in situ in the middle to late spring. Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 - 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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