- Malva was also an ancient Roman city in present Romania. It is also an alternative spelling for the Indian region and state Malwa, and the pseudonym of Syrian artist Omar Hamdi.
Malva is a genus of about 25–30 species of herbaceous annual, biennial, and perennial plants in the family Malvaceae (of which it is the type genus), one of several closely related genera in the family to bear the common English name mallow. The genus is widespread throughout the temperate, subtropical and tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Europe.
The leaves are alternate, palmately lobed; the flowers are from 0.5–5 cm diameter, with five pink or white petals.
Malva species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Grizzled Skipper.
Cultivation and uses
Several species are widely grown as garden
flowers, while some are invasive weeds
, particularly in the Americas
where they are not native.
Many species are edible as leaf vegetables. Malva verticillata (Korean: 동규자」is grown on a limited commercial scale in China; when made as a herbal infusion, it is used for its colon cleansing properties and as a weight loss supplement.
Very easily grown, short-lived perennials often grown as ornamental plants. Mild tasting young mallow leaves can be a substitute for lettuce, whereas older leaves are better cooked as a leafy green vegetable. The buds and flowers can be used in salads.
Cultivation is by sowing the seeds directly outdoors in early spring. The seed is easy to collect, and they will often spread themselves by seed.
This plant is one of the earliest cited in recorded literature. Horace
mentions it in reference to his own diet, which he describes as very simple: "Me pascunt olivae, me cichorea, me malvae" ("As for me, olives, endives, and mallows provide sustenance"). Lord Monboddo
describes his translation of an ancient epigram
that demonstrates malva was planted upon the graves of the ancients, stemming from the belief that the dead could feed on such perfect plants.
Mallow, which grows wild in Israel, was widely used as a source of nourishment in wartime and periods of austerity. Known as hubeza, it was used in salads, soups and other dishes
- Malva aegyptia
- Malva alcea L.-- Greater Musk-mallow, vervain mallow
- Malva assurgentiflora
- Malva brasiliensis Desr. -- Brazilian mallow
- Malva canariensis
- Malva cretica
- Malva dendromorpha -- Tree Mallow
- Malva hispanica
- Malva microcarpa
- Malva microphylla
- Malva mohileviensis
- Malva moschata L. -- Musk-mallow
- Malva neglecta - Dwarf Mallow. buttonweed, cheeseplant, cheeseweed, common mallow, roundleaf mallow
- Malva nicaeensis All. - French Mallow, bull mallow
- Malva oxyloba
- Malva pacifica
- Malva parviflora L. -- Least Mallow, cheeseweed, cheeseweed mallow, small-whorl mallow
- Malva preissiana - Australian Hollyhock
- Malva pseudolavatera
- Malva pusilla - Small Mallow
- Malva qaiseri
- Malva rotundifolia L. -- low mallow, Malva rotundifolia
- Malva sinensis
- Malva stipulacea
- Malva sylvestris L. -- Common Mallow, high mallow
- Malva tournefortiana
- Malva trifida
- Malva verticillata L. -- Chinese Mallow, cluster mallow
- Malva wigandii