Malva, commonly known as Mallow, is a genus of about 30 species of herbaceous plants in the family Malvaceae, native to Europe, northern Africa and temperate Asia.
The plant produces beautiful, eye-catching, cup-shaped flowers in romantic shades. All Mallow flowers have five petals and vary in color from pink to purple and white. Mallow is a great border plant that will add color to any garden!
The genus name is derived from the Greek word “malakos”, which means “soft” or “mellow”, in reference to the special qualities of the plant in softening and healing.
Malva symbolizes love, protection and health.
The plant is considered to be a guardian of a house. It is also a symbol of national and spiritual roots.
Interesting facts about Malva:
High Mallow (Malva sylvestris)
Malva sylvestris is a species in the genus Malva, native to Europe, northern Africa and western Asia.
The plant is also known as Tall Mallow, French Hollyhock and Common Mallow. However, Malva neglecta is also known as the Common Mallow so they share their common name.
Malva sylvestris is a gorgeous plant that has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal purposes.
This plant contains a number of active ingredients that impact human health. It can provide useful amounts of iron, as well as being high in vitamins.
Malva sylvestris is used traditionally as a herbal remedy for headache, constipation, gastritis, toothaches, asthma, bronchitis, coughing and emphysema. The plant is known to help with digestive issues and sleeping problems. Moreover, it has anti-aging and anticancer properties. It’s also worth to mention that High Mallow is highly effective as a wound healer and can boost the immune system by preventing bacterial infections.
The leaves, roots and flowers of the plant are all edible and have a long history of use in a wide variety of foods, including soups, salads, gnocchi and quiche.
Because its ability to thrive in poor soils, it has been used as a survival food in times of famine. During Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, when Jerusalem was under siege, Mallow was an important famine crop. And it is still celebrated on Independence day every year with a traditional dish made from Mallow leaves.
High Mallow is a host plant for Painted Lady butterflies (Vanessa cardui). The Painted Lady butterflies lay their eggs on this plant and enjoy its nectar and large leaves, which give them food and protection.
Benefits and Uses
The plant has enjoyed a prominent role in many cultures throughout history. It has been used as medicine, as well as food.
Many species have been used in folk medicine. As a medicinal herb, the Mallow has been used in Chinese medicine for over 5000 years. The Romans mixed this plant with oil, honey, salt, and wine to make “omnimorbium”, meaning “the remedy of all illnesses”.
The flowers are usually pink, purple and white.
Spring, Autumn, Summer
This plant grows up to 150 cm (5 ft) in height, but most of the species are smaller than that.
Mallow likes rich and well-drained soil, even slightly dry and poor. Most species prefer neutral to slightly acidic pH.