Common mallow

Encyclopedia Article

Common mallow                   Malva neglecta Wallr.

Family:   Malvaceae (mallow family)
Life cycle:  Annual or biennial
Native status: Introduced,
Habitat:  Low maintenance turf; landscapes; waste areas

General description:  Prostrate to decumbent growth habit, stems up to 2 ft long.  Leaves alternate, long petioled, round to  kidney shape with crenate margin (rounded teeth).  Short hairs on leaves and stems give them a rough texture.   Flowers have five white petals, usually with violet veins.  Fruit is a flattened disk containing 10-20 carpels.

Key ID traits:  Round leaves with long petioles and crenate margin; decumbent growth habit. Stems covered with stiff pubescence.

Similar species:  The leaves of common mallow are similar in shape to ground ivy; however, leaves of mallow are alternate versus the opposite of ground ivy. Also, common mallow leaves are rough due to pubescence and lack the minty odor of ground ivy

Miscellaneous:   A medicinal herb that was introduced from Europe. Also referred to as cheeseweed since the circular fruit resembles a wheel of cheese.  

Spreading growth habit of common mallow with long petioled, circular leaves with serated margin

Flowers have five rectangular white petals with notched ends.