Ornamental Plants

  • Origin: IRAN

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.

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.


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


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

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).