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Malva parviflora - L.

Common Name Cheeseweed, Cheeseweed mallow
Family Malvaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
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 Fields and waste land[50].
Range S.W. Europe. A casual in Britain.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Malva parviflora Cheeseweed, Cheeseweed mallow

Malva parviflora Cheeseweed, Cheeseweed mallow


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Physical Characteristics

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Malva parviflora is a ANNUAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is not frost tender. 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.



 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Oil;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Oil.

Leaves - raw or cooked as a potherb[61, 114, 183]. A mild pleasant flavour, they make a very acceptable alternative to lettuce in salads[K]. Immature seeds - raw or cooked[114, 183]. They are used to make a creamed vegetable soup that resembles pea soup[183]. A few leaves are also added for colouring[183]. The seeds have a pleasant nutty flavour, though they are too small for most people to want to collect in quantity[K].

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.

Antidandruff;  Demulcent;  Emollient;  Pectoral;  Skin.

The whole plant is emollient and pectoral[114, 240]. It can be used as a poultice on swellings, running sores and boils[257]. The seeds are demulcent[240]. They are used in the treatment of coughs and ulcers in the bladder[240]. A decoction of the roots or leaves has been used as a hair rinse to remove dandruff and to soften the hair[257].

Other Uses

Dye;  Hair;  Oil.

The seed contains up to 18% of a fatty oil[114]. No more details are given, though the oil is likely to be edible[K]. Cream, yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads[168]. A decoction of the roots or leaves has been used as a hair rinse to soften the hair[257].

Cultivation details

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]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. Plants are prone to infestation by rust fungus[200].


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Seed - sow early spring in situ. Germination should take place within 2 weeks.

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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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

A Gossman   Thu Mar 17 21:22:00 2005

Thank you so far this has been the best site I have seen on Cheeseweed. I knew it was edible but this was the first site to confirm it. This year with all the rains Phoenix, Arizona is overran with it.

José Waizel   Tue Jul 19 19:22:24 2005

spanish common names : Malva de Castilla, malva de quesitos, malva

   Fri Apr 11 2008

what is the morphological difference between Malva parviflora and Malva verticillata?

Shannon   Wed May 28 2008

This site was super great, I have to do resaerch for a plant project in science, and I found all the necessary information on Cheeseweed here. Thanks so much!

Ari Arom   Thu Oct 29 2009

I just bought a bunch of organic Malva from the Santa Monica Farmers Market for a dollar and it had a deep green and healthy look to it. would love to know it's avg. nutritional profile for posterity, it is probably high in certain beneficial minerals. As a budding herbalist / chef, I rinsed it in and boiled it with a generous amount of water for about 30 minutes, and then strained it (to remove rough, mucilaginous aspects of the leaf, steaming wont work too well ;) At this point you can get creative as you like with cooking it: I put it in the food processor and made a casserole with it. The contents of this batch had along with it a half package of shoyu marinaded silken sprouted tofu (use wisely), about a handful of chopped stir fried Mushrooms, Red mild peppers, 1.5 cups grated Beets, and a small Tomato. I finally baked it at 360f in a casserole dish, about 45 minutes until slightly browned then optionally topped it with a cheese preferably/only raw jack from a grass fed cow. It was flavorful eaten with relish and rebold, but the Malva was still a bit rough (because i really steamed it instead of boiling it), but I added a little cream and brine from my olive oil jar, and it obviously went down then.

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