Dwarf Mallow (Malva pusilla)

M. rotundifolia. L.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Dwarf Mallow
Malva pusilla

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

The root can be used as a toothbrush[74].

  • Medicinal Use

    The leaves are demulcent and have occasionally been used internally in the treatment of inflammations of the digestive and urinary systems[4]. Externally they have been used as a poultice for bruises, inflammations, piles etc[4, 240]. This plant is less active than the common mallow (M. sylvestris) and the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis)[4].

    The seed is demulcent[240]. It is used in the treatment of coughs, bronchitis, ulceration of the bladder and haemorrhoids[240]. It is applied externally in the treatment of skin diseases[240].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves – raw or cooked[74, 145]. A mild pleasant flavour, it can be used in quantity and makes an excellent salad plant. It is possibly the best for flavour in this genus though it is much lower yielding than the annual M. verticillata ‘Crispa’ or the perennials M. alcea and M. moschata[K].

    Seed – raw or cooked[74, 105]. Best used before it is fully mature, the seed has a pleasant nutty taste but it is rather small and very fiddly to harvest[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]. This plant has been extensively cultivated as a pot-herb in some countries[4]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. Plants are prone to infestation by rust fungus[200].
Europe. Introduced and locally naturalized 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.