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Dwarf Mallow

Malva neglecta

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Malvaceae (Mallow)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, roadsides, wasteland.

Pink, 5 petals
Flowers appear in clusters of 2 to 5, each having 1 inch long stalks. They are pale pink and have darker veins. The 5 petals are square-tipped with rounded edges. The 5 green, pointed sepals are hidden behind the petals. Pink styles. White stamens. Pollinated by flies and bees.
A flat, round, smooth, sparsely hairy fruit. 1-seeded. The seeds mature from July to October.
An annual plant with long-stalked, alternate, dark green, kidney-shaped leaves, up to 7cm long. 5 to 9 rounded lobes. The lobes are toothed.
Other Names:
Buttonweed, Cheeseplant, Cheeseweed, Common Mallow, Dwarf Malva, Roundleaf Mallow.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Malva neglecta, also known as Common Mallow or Dwarf Mallow, is a herbaceous perennial plant in the Malvaceae family. It is native to Europe and Asia and is widely naturalized in North America. The plant typically grows to be around 1 feet tall and has hairy, lobed leaves and small, pale pink or white flowers. It is often considered a weed, as it is known to grow in disturbed areas such as roadsides, gardens and fields. It can grow in a variety of soil types, and prefers full sun to partial shade. It flowers from early summer to fall. It has similar uses as other species in the Malva genus, it has been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments.


Dwarf mallow, also known as Malva neglecta, is a common weed that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a member of the Malvaceae family, which includes other plants such as hibiscus and okra. Although it is often considered a nuisance weed, dwarf mallow has a number of interesting properties and potential uses.

Description and Habitat

Dwarf mallow is a low-growing annual or biennial plant that typically reaches a height of only 10 to 30 centimeters. It has a shallow taproot and produces multiple stems that branch out from the base of the plant. The leaves are rounded and lobed, with a distinct heart-shaped base. The flowers are small, pink or white, and have five petals. They bloom from May to October.

Dwarf mallow is found in a wide range of habitats, including fields, waste areas, gardens, and roadsides. It thrives in disturbed soils and can tolerate both wet and dry conditions.

Traditional Uses

Dwarf mallow has a long history of use in traditional medicine. In Europe, it has been used as a remedy for coughs, colds, and digestive problems. In China, it has been used to treat inflammation, fever, and urinary tract infections. The plant contains mucilage, which is a type of sticky substance that can soothe irritated tissues.

Modern Uses

Dwarf mallow has a number of potential uses in modern medicine and agriculture. Some studies have shown that the plant has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which could make it useful in the treatment of a range of conditions, including arthritis and cancer.

In addition, dwarf mallow has been shown to have potential as a feed supplement for livestock. The plant is high in protein and other nutrients, and could be a useful addition to animal feed.

Dwarf mallow is also being studied as a potential crop for use in phytoremediation. Phytoremediation is a process in which plants are used to remove pollutants from the soil. Dwarf mallow has been shown to be effective in removing heavy metals such as lead and cadmium from contaminated soils.

Dwarf mallow may be considered a weed, but it has a number of interesting properties and potential uses. It has a long history of use in traditional medicine, and has shown promise as a feed supplement for livestock and a crop for use in phytoremediation. Further research is needed to fully explore the potential of this versatile plant.

More Information about Dwarf Mallow

Dwarf mallow has also been used in the cosmetic industry. The plant contains compounds such as flavonoids and tannins, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. Extracts from dwarf mallow have been used in the production of skin care products and cosmetics.

In addition, dwarf mallow has potential as a food source for humans. The leaves and young shoots of the plant are edible and can be used in salads or cooked as a vegetable. The plant is high in vitamins and minerals, and has a mild, nutty flavor.

Dwarf mallow is also an important source of nectar for pollinators such as bees and butterflies. The flowers provide a valuable food source for these insects, which are essential for the pollination of crops and other plants.

Despite its potential uses, dwarf mallow is often considered a nuisance weed. It can quickly spread and compete with other plants, and can be difficult to control. However, with further research and development, this versatile plant could prove to be a valuable resource for medicine, agriculture, and the environment.

Dwarf mallow is a resilient and adaptable plant that can survive in a variety of growing conditions. This makes it a potential candidate for use in reclamation projects on disturbed land, such as mine sites or industrial areas. The plant's ability to tolerate heavy metals and other pollutants also makes it useful for phytoremediation projects.

In some parts of the world, dwarf mallow is used as a green manure. The plant is grown as a cover crop and then plowed under to enrich the soil with nitrogen and other nutrients.

In terms of cultivation, dwarf mallow is relatively easy to grow from seed. It prefers well-drained soils and full sun to partial shade. The plant can be grown in containers or directly in the ground, and can be propagated by seed or cuttings.

Dwarf mallow may be considered a weed by some, but it has a wide range of potential uses and benefits. From traditional medicine to agriculture, cosmetics, and phytoremediation, this plant has a lot to offer. With further research and development, dwarf mallow could become an important resource for sustainable agriculture and environmental remediation.

Dwarf mallow is also used in some cultures for its spiritual properties. It is believed to have protective and healing qualities, and has been used in rituals and ceremonies. In ancient Greece, the plant was associated with the goddess Venus and was used in love spells and charms.

The plant's high mucilage content also makes it useful in culinary applications. The mucilage can be used as a thickening agent in soups and stews, or to add texture to baked goods such as bread and muffins.

Dwarf mallow is a common ingredient in herbal teas and tisanes. The plant has a mild, soothing flavor and is believed to have calming and digestive properties.

Despite its potential benefits, dwarf mallow can also have negative effects on other plants and ecosystems. It can spread quickly and outcompete native plants, reducing biodiversity and altering ecosystems. Therefore, it is important to manage the growth and spread of dwarf mallow in areas where it is not desired.

In summary, dwarf mallow is a versatile and interesting plant with a wide range of potential uses. From medicine and agriculture to culinary and spiritual practices, this plant has played an important role in human culture for centuries. However, its potential to spread and compete with other plants means that it should be managed carefully to avoid negative ecological impacts.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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