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Malva moschata - L.

Common Name Musk Mallow
Family Malvaceae
USDA hardiness 3-10
Known Hazards When grown on nitrogen rich soils (and particularly when these are used inorganically), the plant tends to concentrate high levels of nitrates in its leaves[76]. The leaves are perfectly wholesome at all other times.
Habitats Grassy places, pastures, hedgebanks etc, especially on rich soils, avoiding acid soils.
Range Most of Europe, including Britain, south to N. Africa.
Edibility Rating    (5 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Malva moschata Musk Mallow


Malva moschata Musk Mallow

 

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Summary

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


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Malva moschata is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in) by 0.6 m (2ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. 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. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Meadow; Hedgerow;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves  Seed
Edible Uses:

Leaves - raw or cooked[K]. A mild pleasant flavour[K]. The leaves are mucilaginous and fairly bland, we use them in bulk in summer salads[K]. They make 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 spring germinating plants[K]. Flowers - raw[K]. A very decorative addition to the salad bowl, they have a very mild flavour[K]. Seed - raw. Best used before it is fully mature, the seed has a pleasant nutty taste but it is rather small and fiddly to harvest[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.
Antiphlogistic  Astringent  Demulcent  Diuretic  Emollient  Expectorant  Laxative  Poultice  
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 taken internally in the treatment of respiratory system diseases or inflammation of the digestive or urinary systems[4, 238]. They have similar properties, but are considered to be inferior, to the common mallow (M. sylvestris) and the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) and are seldom used internally[4]. The plant is an excellent laxative for young children[7].

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Other Uses

Dye  Fibre

Cream, yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads[168]. A fibre obtained from the stems is used for cordage, textiles and paper making[115].

Special Uses

Food Forest  Scented Plants

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border 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]. Hardy to about -25°c[187]. A very ornamental plant[1]. It is very variable in form, especially with regard to the degree of laciniation of the leaves[17]. The crushed leaves have a musk-like smell[245]. Plants are generally quite short-lived though they can self-sow freely when in a suitable position and usually more than maintain themselves[233, K]. If the plant is pruned back to the main branches as it comes into flower, then it will produce a fresh flush of leaves in late summer for salad use[K]. A good plant for the summer meadow[24]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. Prone to infestation by rust fungus[200]. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Edible, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Naturalizing. 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. An evergreen. The plant growth habit is a clumper with limited spread [1-2].

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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. Cuttings of side shoots, July/August in a cold frame[111].

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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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

17200

Links / References

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Readers comment

Shilpa Vakshasya   Mon May 12 10:16:50 2003

Kindly inform us about the distribution and status of the plant, where it is cultivated and where it is used as Salad.

elle   Mon Nov 27 2006

I've found the taste of the leaves fairly indifferent although not unpleasant, and have only added them to salads as an extra, never the main event. Still, M. moschata has to be one of the loveliest British wildflowers.

Rachel A. Garner   Tue Jul 24 2007

I've an inundation in my yard of something that may be some kind of malva, but I've not been able to pin it down. I would like to ID it sufficiently to use it as a salad green. It is short stemmed and is blanketing most of my large back yard----making an ideal cover-crop. In the spring it had tiny blue flowers. It made a very pretty sea of blue. The leaf resembles the drawing of a salad-green type of malva displayed in one of my weed-eating books. The closest I can come for leaf shape is a somewhat rounded, kidney-shape, or miniature lily pad with five or six rounded protrusions or scallops on the edges. It was listed as a nutritious, wayside weed . It is fairly moist here in Missouri. We don't get much of a winter and this weed is prolific. Does the weed, malva, grow profusely in this state? Do you have a picture of the leaf of the short variety resembling what I've described? Rachel Garner 417 935 5552

Boris   Sat Mar 1 2008

It's very tasty and grows very well in northwestern Germany.

Lauren Leach-Steffens   Wed Feb 27 2008

Rachel, what you're describing sounds like ground ivy, which is in the mint family. The flowers of malvas are five-petaled (as you see above); while those of ground ivy are two-lipped (like a tiny mint).

   Mon Jul 21 2008

I'm Derrick Ditchburn the photographer and would like to point out that the link on my name goes to this site http://members.home.net/index.php

Bruce   Wed Jun 17 2009

Does anyone know where to get seed for this?

ambre   Wed Sep 2 2009

you can get one variety at this site.

oikos

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