Cheeseweed (Malva parviflora)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Malva parviflora

The seed contains up to 18% of a fatty oil[114]. No more details are given, though the oil is likely to be edible[K].

Cream, yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads[168].

A decoction of the roots or leaves has been used as a hair rinse to soften the hair[257].

  • Medicinal Use

    The whole plant is emollient and pectoral[114, 240]. It can be used as a poultice on swellings, running sores and boils[257].

    The seeds are demulcent[240]. They are used in the treatment of coughs and ulcers in the bladder[240].

    A decoction of the roots or leaves has been used as a hair rinse to remove dandruff and to soften the hair[257].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves – raw or cooked as a potherb[61, 114, 183]. A mild pleasant flavour, they make a very acceptable alternative to lettuce in salads[K].

    Immature seeds – raw or cooked[114, 183]. They are used to make a creamed vegetable soup that resembles pea soup[183]. A few leaves are also added for colouring[183]. The seeds have a pleasant nutty flavour, though they are too small for most people to want to collect in quantity[K].

  • Cautionary Notes

    Although we have seen no reports of toxicity for this species, when grown on nitrogen rich soils (and particularly when these are cultivated inorganically), the leaves of some species tend to concentrate high levels of nitrates in their leaves[76]. The leaves are perfectly wholesome at all other times.

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow early spring in situ. Germination should take place within 2 weeks.
A very easily grown plant, succeeding in ordinary garden soil[1], though it prefers a reasonably well-drained and moderately fertile soil in a sunny position[200]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. Plants are prone to infestation by rust fungus[200].
S.W. Europe. A casual in Britain.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.