Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris)

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Description Common Mallow is a herbaceous species that belongs to the family of Malvaceae. It can reach about 60 to 120 cm in height. The flowers range from pale pink to purple. They are also hermaphrodite as they have both male and female organs. The leaves have three to seven rounded, toothed lobes (1) and have a dark green colouration.  All parts of the plant contain a mucous like substance, especially in the leaves and flowers. Due to this substance Common Mallow is usually used in pharmaceutics.  If consumed in a liquid form it can aid the digestive system (2) (3).
Life Cycle It is a self sown species either biennial or perennial. Common Mallow is also self fertile, as it is a hermaphrodite species, and bees participate in pollination. It blooms from June to September (4).
Habitat It can be found in cultivated or waste areas with high levels of sun exposure. As all the species of the family, grow in temperate and warm climates. It grows also in sandy or clay and moist soils. It tolerates pH from 6.1 to 7.5. It is a common species found along roadsides or on banks (3) (5) (6).
Distribution It can be found all over Europe and also in west Asia. In Greece it grows throughout the entire country (2).
Conservation status Not mentioned in the IUCN Red list.
References Description translated by Natasa Palaiogewrgou (2009) 1)      Blamey. M., and Grey-Wilson. C. (1993) Mediterranean Wild Flowers, Harper Collins Publishers, London 2)      Μαρσέλλος Μάριος, Μαρσέλλος Σωτήρης, 1977, Φαρμακευτικά φυτά, Εκδόσεις Γκιούρδας Μόσχος 3)      Heritage Perrenials (2008) Malva sylvestris ‘Zebrina’ [online] Available: http://www.perennials.com/seeplant.html?item=1.350.200 [date accessed: 19/08/2009] 4)      Plants for a Future (2008) Malva syslvestris – Mallow [online] Available: http://pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Malva+sylvestris [date accessed: 19/08/2009] 5)      Σαρλής Γεώργιος, 1999, Συστηματική Βοτανική, Εκδόσεις Σταμούλη Dave’s Garden (2009) Plant Files: Mallow, French Hollyhock [online] Available: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/51464/ [date accessed: 19/08/2009]