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Tree Mallow

Malva arborea

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Malvaceae (Mallow)
Semi-evergreen shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
3 metres tall
Rocky places, sand dunes, sea cliffs, seaside, wasteland.

Pink, 5 petals
Flowers grow in clusters of 2 to 7 and are purplish-pink with purple veins and a dark centre. 5 notched petals. Flowers reach a maximum of 4cm across.
A disc-shaped nutlet.
Soft, downy, stalked, Ivy-shaped leaves with 5 to 7 lobes, up to 20cm across. The branches of Tree Mallow are woody and this is the only woody UK Mallow species.
Other Names:
French Hollyhock, High Mallow, Lavatera, Malva.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Malva arborea, also known as the "Tree Mallow" or "High Mallow," is a perennial plant in the Malvaceae family. It is native to the Mediterranean region and can grow up to 10 feet tall, making it one of the tallest species in the Malva genus. The leaves are large and lobed, and the flowers are typically pink or purple. Like other species in the Malva genus, it has been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments. It is also grown as an ornamental plant for its large and striking flowers.


Tree Mallow (Malva arborea), also known as the French hollyhock or malva, is a shrub native to the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the Malvaceae family, which also includes cotton and hibiscus. This beautiful plant is prized for its attractive foliage and stunning flowers, making it a popular choice for gardens and landscaping.

Physical Characteristics of Tree Mallow

Tree Mallow is a perennial shrub that can grow up to 10 feet tall, with a spread of about 6 feet. The plant has a woody stem and branches, and the leaves are green, lobed, and resemble those of a hollyhock. The flowers, which bloom from spring to autumn, are large and showy, with petals that range in color from pink to purple. The plant's fruit is a disc-shaped capsule that contains numerous seeds.

Cultivation and Care

Tree Mallow is an easy plant to grow and care for, making it an excellent choice for novice gardeners. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil, but can tolerate partial shade and a variety of soil types. Once established, the plant is drought-tolerant and requires minimal maintenance.

Propagation of Tree Mallow can be done by seed or cuttings. Seeds should be sown in the spring, and cuttings should be taken in the autumn. The plant can be pruned in the winter to maintain its shape and promote new growth.

Uses of Tree Mallow

Tree Mallow is a versatile plant that has a variety of uses. In traditional medicine, the leaves and flowers of the plant have been used to treat a range of ailments, including respiratory infections, skin irritations, and digestive issues. The plant is also used in cosmetics and skincare products due to its soothing and moisturizing properties.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Tree Mallow is also used for landscaping and ornamental purposes. Its large, showy flowers and attractive foliage make it a popular choice for gardens, parks, and other public spaces. The plant is also often used as a hedge or screen due to its size and dense growth habit.

Tree Mallow is a beautiful and versatile plant that is well-suited for a variety of uses. Whether you are looking for a low-maintenance plant for your garden, a natural remedy for common ailments, or an ornamental shrub for your landscaping project, Tree Mallow is an excellent choice. With its stunning flowers and easy cultivation, it is sure to be a favorite among gardeners and plant enthusiasts alike.

More Information about Tree Mallow

Tree Mallow (Malva arborea) has been cultivated for its medicinal and ornamental uses for centuries. It was traditionally used by ancient Greeks and Romans to treat a variety of ailments, including sore throats, respiratory infections, and digestive issues. In addition to its medicinal uses, the plant was also used for food and fiber.

Today, Tree Mallow is still used in traditional medicine in some parts of the world. The leaves and flowers are used to make a tea or infusion that is said to have soothing and healing properties. The plant is also used in cosmetics and skincare products due to its moisturizing and nourishing properties.

In terms of its ornamental uses, Tree Mallow is a popular choice for gardens and landscaping projects due to its striking appearance. The large, showy flowers and attractive foliage make it a standout plant in any setting. The plant is often used as a hedge or screen, as well as in mixed borders and as a focal point in a garden.

Tree Mallow is also important for its role in the ecosystem. The plant is a valuable source of food and habitat for a variety of insects, including bees and butterflies. It is also a host plant for the caterpillars of certain butterfly species, such as the Painted Lady butterfly.

In terms of conservation, Tree Mallow is not currently considered endangered or threatened. However, like many plant species, it is at risk due to habitat loss and degradation. It is important to protect and conserve this valuable plant and its habitat to ensure its continued existence for future generations.

Tree Mallow (Malva arborea) is a versatile and valuable plant that has been used for centuries for its medicinal and ornamental properties. Whether you are interested in its traditional medicinal uses, its stunning appearance in a garden or landscaping project, or its importance in the ecosystem, Tree Mallow is a plant that is sure to impress and inspire.

In addition to its traditional medicinal uses, ornamental value, and ecological importance, Tree Mallow also has cultural significance. In some parts of the Mediterranean, the plant is associated with love and romance. In ancient Greek mythology, the plant was said to have been created by the goddess Aphrodite, who was the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. It was believed that if a person placed the leaves of the Tree Mallow under their pillow, they would dream of their future lover.

The plant has also been used in religious ceremonies and festivals. In Spain, it is associated with the feast of San Juan, which celebrates the summer solstice. During the festival, the plant is used to decorate altars and homes, and is also used in traditional dishes.

In terms of culinary uses, Tree Mallow has been used for food and fiber for centuries. The leaves and flowers of the plant are edible and can be used in salads, soups, and stews. The leaves can also be used to make a tea or infusion. In addition, the plant has been used to make fiber for textiles, paper, and cordage.

Overall, Tree Mallow is a plant that has a rich history and cultural significance. Whether you are interested in its traditional medicinal uses, its ornamental value, its ecological importance, or its cultural significance, Tree Mallow is a plant that is sure to captivate and inspire. With its stunning appearance, ease of cultivation, and versatile uses, it is no wonder that this plant has been cherished for centuries and continues to be a beloved plant today.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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