Malva neglecta

Malva neglecta common mallow

Plant grows in the wild/spontaneously

This alien member of the mallow family is an annual or occasionally biennial plant found throughout the United States. It is a native of Eurasia but has spread widely spread in North America except for some parts of the Deep South. It is a small creeping plant found in lawns and disturbed areas, particularly near culverts, fence lines and foundations and often considered a weed.

Although insignificant in appearance, it does have an attractive flower that resembles that of a hollyhock. You just have to get close to appreciate it. The flower is about ½ inch in diameter and is a pale rose or lavender color. There are 5 petals and the flowers grow from the leaf axils. The petals are heart-shaped and notched. The stamens are united in a column around the style. The flowers do provide both a nectar and pollen “reward” for a variety of pollinating insects.

The stems can grow horizontally about 2 feet long. The leaves are roundish with five to seven shallow lobes or scallops. The veins are prominent. It can grow in dry areas because it has a deep taproot. The “cheese” in its name refers to the flat, round seedpod that looks like a cheese wheel. The plant spreads primarily by seed since the stems do not root where they touch the ground. It blooms April to October. This plant is often consumed as a food, with its leaves, stalks and seeds all being considered edible. The seeds contain 21% protein and over 15% fat.

Contributed by: Mark Welchley

Common weed of gardens, roadsides, and other man-disturbed habitats.

Present throughout the state.

Wetland code: Not classified

Flowers from early May to August.

Malva neglecta common mallow

Plant grows in the wild/spontaneously
Malva neglecta gallery
Plant Life-Form
annual forb
Common Names
common mallow cheeseweed