Please donate to support our ‘Plants to Save the Planet’ Project. The Project is directed at enabling designers of ‘carbon farms’ and ‘food forests’: agroecosystems of perennial plants, to choose the most appropriate plants for their requirements and site conditions. We are working on a subset of plants in the PFAF database identified as having the most potential for inclusion in such designs. We are adding search terms and icons to those plants pages, and providing a range of search options aligned to categories of plants and crop yields, with Help facilities including videos. More >>>

Follow Us:

 

Malva sylvestris - L.

Common Name Mallow, High mallow, French Hollyhock, Common Mallow, Tree Mallow, Tall Mallow
Family Malvaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards When grown on nitrogen rich soils (and particularly when these are cultivated inorganically), the plant tends to concentrate high levels of nitrates in its leaves[76]. The leaves are perfectly wholesome at all other times. Avoid with gallstones.
Habitats Waste ground, field verges and roadsides, avoiding acid soils[7, 9, 17].
Range Most of Europe, including Britain.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Malva sylvestris Mallow, High mallow, French Hollyhock, Common Mallow, Tree Mallow, Tall  Mallow


(c) 2010 Ken Fern & Plants For A Future
Malva sylvestris Mallow, High mallow, French Hollyhock, Common Mallow, Tree Mallow, Tall  Mallow
(c) 2010 Ken Fern & Plants For A Future

 

Translate this page:

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 sylvestris is a BIENNIAL/PERENNIAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a fast rate.
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. 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 moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Althaea godronii. Althaea mauritiana. Malva ambigua. Malva erecta. Malva mauritiana.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Hedgerow;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves  Seed
Edible Uses: Tea

Leaves - raw or cooked[2, 4, 7, 9, 94, 183]. Mucilaginous with a mild pleasant flavour, they are nice in soups where they act as a thickener[5]. The young leaves also make a very acceptable substitute for lettuce in a salad[K]. Immature seed - raw[183]. Used as a nibble[183], the seeds have a nice nutty flavour[12] but are too fiddly for most people to want to gather in quantity[K]. Flowers - raw. Added to salads or used as a garnish[183]. A pleasant mild flavour, with a similar texture to the leaves, they make a pleasant and pretty addition to the salad bowl[K]. The leaves are a tea substitute[46, 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.
Antiphlogistic  Astringent  Demulcent  Diuretic  Emollient  Expectorant  Laxative  Salve


All parts of the plant are antiphlogistic, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, laxative, salve[4, 7, 9, 21, 46, 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 they can be taken internally in the treatment of respiratory system diseases and problems with the digestive tract[4, 238, 254]. When combined with eucalyptus it makes a god remedy for coughs and other chest ailments[254]. Mallow has similar properties, but is considered to be inferior to the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) and are seldom used internally[4]. The plant is an excellent laxative for young children[7]. The leaves can be used fresh whenever they are available or can be harvested in the spring and dried for later use[254]. The flowers are harvested in the summer and can be dried for later use[254]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Malva sylvestris for cough, bronchitis, inflammation of the mouth and pharynx (see [302] for critics of commission E).

Our new book Edible Shrubs is now available.

Edible Shrubs provides detailed information, attractively presented, on over 70 shrub species. They have been selected to provide a mix of different plant sizes and growing conditions. Most provide delicious and nutritious fruit, but many also have edible leaves, seeds, flowers, stems or roots, or they yield edible or useful oil.

Read More

Edible Shrubs Book

Other Uses

Dye  Fibre  Litmus

Cream, yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads[168]. A tincture of the flowers forms a very delicate test for alkalis[4, 115]. The leaves are used to relieve insect bites and stings[53]. A fibre obtained from the stems is useful for cordage, textiles and paper making[115].

Special Uses

Dynamic accumulator

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Massing. A very easily grown plant, succeeding in ordinary garden soil[1] and in poor soils[238]. It prefers a reasonably well-drained and moderately fertile soil in a sunny position[200], where it will produce a better crop of salad leaves[K]. Plants are hardy to about -20°c[187]. There are some named forms, selected for their ornamental value[187]. 'Mauritiana' is larger than the type with much more ornamental flowers[187]. The flavour of the leaves and flowers is considered by many to be superior to the type species[183]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. Prone to infestation by rust fungus[200]. Special Features: Not North American native, Naturalizing, Attractive flowers or blooms.

Temperature Converter

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

Fahrenheit:

image

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.

Shop Now

Propagation

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 :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Abelmoschus esculentusOkraAnnual1.0 5-11  LMHNM432
Abelmoschus manihotAibikaPerennial2.0 8-11 FLMHNM21 
Abelmoschus moschatusMusk Mallow,Musk OkraPerennial2.0 8-11 FLMHNM23 
Abroma augustaCotton Abroma. Perennial Indian Hemp.Shrub3.0 10-12 FLMHNM034
Abutilon megapotamicumTrailing AbutilonShrub2.0 7-10 FLMHSNM400
Abutilon ochsenii Shrub4.0 7-10  LMHSNM30 
Abutilon pictumAbutilon, Parlour Maple, Flowering Maple, SpottedShrub5.0 8-10 MLMHSNM30 
Abutilon purpurascens Shrub2.4 8-11  LMHSNDM20 
Abutilon species Shrub3.0 7-10  LMHSNM30 
Abutilon theophrastiChina Jute, Velvetleaf, Butterprint Buttonweed Jute, China Mallow, Indian Velvet LeafAnnual1.0 0-0  LMHSNDM324
Abutilon vitifolium Shrub8.0 7-10  LMHSNM30 
Abutilon x hybridumChinese Lantern, Flowering MapleShrub3.0 9-11 FLMHSNM300
Abutilon x milleriTrailing AbutilonShrub3.0 7-10  LMHSNM30 
Abutilon x suntense Shrub8.0 7-10 FLMHSNM30 
Adansonia digitataBaobab, Judas Fruit, Monkey Bread TreeTree20.0 10-12 SLMHNDM334
Alcea roseaHollyhockPerennial2.4 5-9 FLMHNDM323
Althaea cannabinaPalm-leaf marshmallowPerennial1.8 4-8  LMHNDM00 
Althaea officinalisMarsh Mallow, Common marshmallowPerennial1.2 3-7  LMHNDM553
Bombax ceibaRed Silk Cotton Tree, Kapok TreeTree25.0 10-12 MLMHNDM224
Burretiodendron hsienmuHsienmu woodTree35.0 10-12 SLMHNM004
Callirhoe digitataFinger Poppy Mallow, WinecupPerennial0.9 4-8  LNDM20 
Callirhoe involucrataPoppy Mallow, Purple poppymallow, Winecup, Finger Poppy MallowPerennial0.2 4-8 MLNDM320
Callirhoe leiocarpaTall Poppy-MallowAnnual0.9 5-9  LNDM20 
Ceiba aesculifoliaPochoteTree25.0 10-12 MLMHNDM214
Ceiba pentandraKapok Tree, Cotton Tree, Suma'maTree50.0 10-12 FMHNDM335
Clappertonia ficifoliaBolo BoloShrub2.5 10-12 FLMNMWe014
Cola acuminataCola Nut, Kola, Bissy NutTree20.0 10-12 MLMHNM342
Cola nitidaCola Nut, Kola, Bissy NutsTree20.0 10-12 SLMHSNDM342
Durio dulcisDurian Marangang, Merangang, Red Durian, Tutong, LahongTree30.0 11-12 MLMHNM402
Durio zibethinusDurianTree30.0 10-12 MLMHNM512
123

 

Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

17200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Tuliameny   Thu Jul 5 2007

Please tell me were in canada can i buy malva sylvestris.

Jan Karpisek   Fri Sep 12 2008

Photo of the Mallow cult. "Mauritania" by Jan Karpisek for pfaf.org

Angela Paxton   Sat Apr 18 2009

Is Malva sylvestris Zebrina edible - it says poisonous on the seed website!

david   Sat Apr 18 2009

I can find no reference to this being toxic, Bown,( Ref 238 above) who never seems to be wrong about anything, specifically mentions this variant as edible and medicinal. But excess can be laxative and see the note above on toxicity if grown on nitrate rich soil. Some Malva species are toxic however, I suggest you contact the source that said it is toxic and ask for a reference or if they are sure.

david n   Sun Apr 19 2009

The leaves are said to cause indigestion in large doses according to Tim Low(Wild Herbs of Australia and New Zealand), he is talking of Malva leaves in general, it's not completely certain this includes Malava sylvestis and its' varieties

   Feb 6 2012 12:00AM

it is a fantastic remedy for infected wounds. My mother would steep leaves in water. and apply the cooled down leaves directly over wound. Put a bandage on top. a few hours later remove bandage and leaves, with it the infected part will come off.

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.

2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.

3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Malva sylvestris  
All the information contained in these pages is Copyright (C) Plants For A Future, 1996-2012.
Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567,
Web Design & Management
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some information cannot be used for commercial reasons or be modified (but some can). Please view the copyright link for more information.