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Malva neglecta - Wallr.

Common Name Dwarf Mallow, Common mallow
Family Malvaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards When grown on nitrogen rich soils (and particularly when these are inorganic), the plant tends to concentrate high levels of nitrates in its leaves[76]. The leaves are perfectly wholesome at all other times.
Habitats Waste and cultivated ground[17], usually on dry soils, frequently in coastal habitats, on dry walls or as a weed of cultivated ground[200].
Range Most of Europe, including Britain, south and east to N. Africa and Asia.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Malva neglecta Dwarf Mallow, Common mallow

Malva neglecta Dwarf Mallow, Common mallow


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Malva neglecta is a ANNUAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to September, and the seeds ripen from July to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, flies. The plant is self-fertile.
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 dry or moist soil.



 Cultivated Beds; East Wall. In. South Wall. In. West Wall. In.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Egg;  Tea.

Leaves and young shoots - raw or cooked[2, 9, 13, 74, 85]. A mild pleasant flavour[K], they are said to be highly nutritious[222]. They can be added in quantity to salads, and make an excellent lettuce substitute, they can also be cooked as greens[183, K]. The leaves are mucilaginous, when cooked in soups etc they tend to thicken it in much the same way as okra (Abelmoschatus esculenta)[222]. Some people find this mucilaginous texture unpleasant, especially if the leaves are cooked[K]. Immature seeds - raw or cooked[74, 85, 183]. A pleasant nutty flavour, they are nice as a nibble but too small for most people to want to collect in quantity[K]. A decoction of the roots is used as an egg-white substitute for making meringue[183]. The roots are brought to the boil in water and then simmered until the water becomes quite thick. This liquid can then be whisked in much the same way as egg whites[K]. A tea can be made from the dried leaves[85, 183].

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.

Antiinflammatory;  Antiphlogistic;  Astringent;  Demulcent;  Diuretic;  Emollient;  Expectorant;  Laxative;  
Poultice;  Purgative;  Salve.

All parts of the plant are antiphlogistic, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, laxative, salve[9, 222, 238]. The leaves and flowers can be eaten as part of the diet, or a tea can be made from the leaves, flowers or roots[222]. The leaves and flowers are the main part used, their demulcent properties making them valuable as a poultice for bruise, inflammations, insect bites etc, or taken internally in the treatment of respiratory system diseases or inflammation of the digestive or urinary systems[222, 238]. They have similar properties, but are considered to be inferior to the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis), though they are stronger acting than the common mallow (M. sylvestris). They are seldom used internally[4]. The plant is an excellent laxative for young children[7].

Other Uses

Dye;  Teeth.

Cream, yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads[168]. The root is used as a toothbrush[74].

Cultivation details

A very easily grown plant, succeeding in ordinary garden soil, though it prefers a reasonably well-drained and moderately fertile soil in a sunny position. It also succeeds in dry soils. At one time this plant was often cultivated for its edible leaves[2]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. Prone to infestation by rust fungus.


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Seed - sow early spring or autumn in situ. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. The seed germinates in the autumn in the wild.

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 :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Abelmoschus esculentusOkra43
Abelmoschus manihotAibika21
Abelmoschus moschatusMusk Mallow,Musk Okra23
Abutilon megapotamicumTrailing Abutilon40
Abutilon ochsenii 30
Abutilon pictumAbutilon, Parlour Maple, Flowering Maple, Spotted30
Abutilon purpurascens 20
Abutilon species 30
Abutilon theophrastiChina Jute, Velvetleaf, Butterprint Buttonweed Jute, China Mallow, Indian Velvet Leaf32
Abutilon vitifolium 30
Abutilon x hybridumChinese Lantern, Flowering Maple30
Abutilon x milleriTrailing Abutilon30
Abutilon x suntense 30
Adansonia digitataBaobab, Judas Fruit, Monkey Bread Tree33
Alcea roseaHollyhock32
Althaea cannabinaPalm-leaf marshmallow00
Althaea officinalisMarsh Mallow, Common marshmallow55
Bombax ceibaRed Silk Cotton Tree, Kapok Tree22
Burretiodendron hsienmuHsienmu wood00
Callirhoe digitataFinger Poppy Mallow, Winecup20
Callirhoe involucrataPoppy Mallow, Purple poppymallow, Winecup, Finger Poppy Mallow32
Callirhoe leiocarpaTall Poppy-Mallow20
Ceiba aesculifoliaPochote21
Ceiba pentandraKapok Tree, Cotton Tree, Suma'ma33
Clappertonia ficifoliaBolo Bolo01
Cola acuminataCola Nut, Kola, Bissy Nut34
Cola nitidaCola Nut, Kola, Bissy Nuts34
Durio dulcisDurian Marangang, Merangang, Red Durian, Tutong, Lahong40
Durio zibethinusDurian51
Gossypium barbadenseSea Island Cotton22


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

Mike Getchel   Fri Sep 17 16:06:50 2004

My lawn is infested with mallow neglecta. What herbicides are effective against this plant?

lorri   Sun Jan 16 02:27:33 2005

In response to this comment:

Malva neglecta

Mike Getchel (getchelmd@yahoo.com) Fri Sep 17 16:06:50 2004

My lawn is infested with mallow neglecta. What herbicides are effective against this plant?


I don't know how big your lawn is, but why not try something more healthy instead of pesticides? Malva neglecta has a long tap root (rather than an underground tangled mess like some weeds) and each individual plant can be pulled up by hand. If you do this before they get seeds, you should see their numbers diminish greatly. Just remember to soak the ground first so that the plants will come up more easily.

Also, if you read all the information on this page, this plant truly lives up to its name -- "overlooked" -- as it has so many uses. Try eating a leaf sometime -- you might like it, and it won't hurt you. Or if you want to get creative, you can take a couple of these plants, let them get really large, and prune them for a kind of "weed bonsai."

As you might have guessed, I actually like this plant a lot as it is useful and not at all noxious and bothersome like some other plants we consider "weeds." I used to get them now and then in my yard when I lived in San Diego, but now in Los Angeles I hardly ever see them.

Jumpinjivinjoe   Fri Jun 26 2009

From http://www.abcvitaminslife.com/healthnotes/healthnotes.aspx?org=abcvitamins&contentid=3263004 It says that "one carbohydrate in mallow has been shown to inhibit a component of the immune system known as the complement cascade. Excessive activation of the complement cascade has been implicated in chronic inflammation and autoimmune disorders." This would probably be the reason as to why Malva is anti-inflammatory. However, I would like to know if a slight suppression of the complement cascade is negative on an otherwise healthy person. I have eaten many handfuls of the seeds (or "cheeses"), enough to make me full, and I have not suffered any ill effects. The same website says that Malva increases white blood cell count and appears to be anti-cancer.

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