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Smaller Tree Mallow

Malva pseudolavatera

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Malvaceae (Mallow)
Life Cycle:
Annual or Biennial
Maximum Size:
180 centimetres tall
Fields, hedgerows, roadsides, seaside, wasteland.

Pink, 5 petals
Pink flowers with well-spaced petals. Petals are notched at their tips. The outer sepal ring forms a lobed cup, unlike that of the similar looking Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris).
The fruit is a smooth, yellowish-brown, angled nutlet.
Crinkly ivy-like leaves, similar to those of Common Mallow but pale green and less lobed. Within the British Isles, Smaller Tree Mallow can mainly be found in the Scilly Isles. Annual or biennial.
Other Names:
False Mallow, Tree Mallow.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Malva pseudolavatera, also known as False Mallow or Tree Mallow, is a perennial plant in the Malvaceae family. It is native to Europe, but has been naturalized in other parts of the world. The plant typically grows to be around 3-6 feet tall and has large, lobed leaves and showy, pink or purple flowers that bloom in summer and fall. The flowers are similar in appearance to those of the related species Malva arborea, which is why it is called "Tree Mallow". It can be found growing in a variety of habitats such as waste ground, hedgerows, and along roadsides. It prefers well-drained soils and full sun to partial shade. It has similar uses as other species in the Malva genus, it has been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments.


The Smaller Tree Mallow, scientifically known as Malva pseudolavatera, is a beautiful and hardy plant that belongs to the mallow family. It is native to the Canary Islands but has become a popular ornamental plant in many parts of the world, thanks to its attractive flowers and easy-to-grow nature.

Appearance and Characteristics

The Smaller Tree Mallow is a shrubby perennial plant that grows up to a height of 6 feet (1.8 meters) and spreads up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) wide. It has a woody stem and leaves that are deeply lobed, resembling maple leaves. The leaves are gray-green in color and covered with soft, velvety hairs, which give them a fuzzy texture.

The flowers of the Smaller Tree Mallow are stunning, with a deep pink color that stands out against the green foliage. The flowers are large, measuring up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter, and bloom in late spring and summer. They are cup-shaped and have five petals that surround a central column of stamens.

Growing Conditions

The Smaller Tree Mallow is a hardy plant that can thrive in a wide range of conditions. It prefers full sun but can also tolerate partial shade. It requires well-draining soil that is rich in nutrients and a moderate amount of water. The plant is drought-tolerant and can survive in dry conditions, but it will grow best if it receives regular watering.


The Smaller Tree Mallow can be propagated through seed or stem cuttings. Seeds can be collected from mature plants and sown in the spring. Stem cuttings can be taken in the summer and rooted in a moist potting mix.


The Smaller Tree Mallow is primarily grown as an ornamental plant because of its attractive flowers and foliage. It is often planted in gardens and landscapes as a specimen plant or used in mixed borders. It can also be grown in containers on patios and decks.

In addition to its ornamental value, the Smaller Tree Mallow has some medicinal uses. Its leaves and roots have been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments such as coughs, sore throats, and digestive problems.

The Smaller Tree Mallow is a beautiful and versatile plant that can add color and texture to any garden or landscape. It is easy to grow and maintain, making it an excellent choice for both novice and experienced gardeners. With its stunning flowers, fuzzy foliage, and medicinal properties, it is a plant that is both aesthetically pleasing and useful.

More Information about Smaller Tree Mallow

The Smaller Tree Mallow is not only a beautiful and useful plant, but it also has some environmental benefits. It attracts pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, which help to increase biodiversity and improve the health of ecosystems. The plant also provides food and habitat for a variety of insects, birds, and other wildlife.

Another benefit of the Smaller Tree Mallow is its ability to control erosion. Its deep roots can stabilize soil and prevent erosion, making it an excellent choice for gardens and landscapes in areas prone to erosion.

In terms of care, the Smaller Tree Mallow is a low-maintenance plant. It requires minimal pruning, only to remove dead or damaged branches, and is generally pest and disease-resistant. However, like most plants, it can be susceptible to fungal diseases if grown in overly wet conditions. To avoid this, ensure that the plant is grown in well-draining soil and not overwatered.

While the Smaller Tree Mallow is a hardy plant, it is important to note that it is not tolerant of extreme cold temperatures. It is best suited to USDA hardiness zones 9-11, where winter temperatures typically do not fall below 20°F (-6°C). In colder regions, it can be grown as an annual or a container plant that can be brought indoors during the winter months.

When planting the Smaller Tree Mallow, it is recommended to space each plant about 3-4 feet (0.9-1.2 meters) apart to allow for adequate growth and airflow. The plant can be fertilized with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer in the spring and summer to encourage healthy growth and flowering.

One important thing to note is that the Smaller Tree Mallow should not be confused with the Lavatera arborea, which is also known as the Tree Mallow. While the two plants have some similarities, they are distinct species with different growing habits and characteristics. The Lavatera arborea is a larger plant that can reach heights of up to 10 feet (3 meters) and has white or pink flowers.

The Smaller Tree Mallow is a versatile and attractive plant that can be used in a variety of settings, from gardens and landscapes to containers and patio plantings. With its stunning flowers, fuzzy foliage, and environmental benefits, it is a plant that is both beautiful and beneficial.

In addition to its ornamental value, the Smaller Tree Mallow is also used in traditional medicine in some parts of the world. The leaves and roots of the plant have been used to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, sore throats, and stomach problems. The plant contains mucilage, which is a type of gel-like substance that can help to soothe irritated tissues and reduce inflammation. However, it is important to note that more research is needed to confirm the plant's medicinal properties and safety.

The Smaller Tree Mallow is also a popular plant for beekeepers, as it provides a good source of nectar and pollen for honeybees. The plant's flowers are rich in nectar and produce a light-colored, mild-flavored honey. The honey produced from the Smaller Tree Mallow is highly prized by beekeepers and honey enthusiasts alike.

Finally, the Smaller Tree Mallow has cultural significance in some parts of the world. In the Canary Islands, where the plant is native, it is known as "Malva de los Riscos" and is considered a symbol of resilience and strength. The plant is often found growing on rocky cliffs and hillsides, where it is exposed to harsh winds and salt spray. Despite these challenging growing conditions, the Smaller Tree Mallow thrives, and its ability to survive in such an inhospitable environment is seen as a testament to its strength and endurance.