Native to Europe and India; widespread as a weed around the world
No listed status
This species is
to the Truckee Meadows.
Common mallow, also known as cheeseweed mallow, is a short plant that appears similar to geraniums with thick veins on the back of its leaves. Common mallow leaves are soft and fuzzy with rough stems. These plants have multiple stems and tend to spread where they are planted, making them a “creeping” plant.
Common mallow is a relative of okra and when cooked, similar to okra, it becomes gelatinous in texture. It is entirely edible and a great additive to use to bind foods! For example, it is great for binding smoothies, and in the past was used by cheese makers to bind cheese.
In Europe, common mallow is grown as a salad green. Their flowers are often used as a salad additive, as well.
Common mallow is related to the marsh mallow plant which, as its name suggests, is where the first marshmallows came from. Marshmallows were created as a medicinal treat for sore throats made from the roots of the marsh mallow plant. This treat also dates back to the days of ancient Egypt where it was considered a delicacy for royalty and the gods! Today, marshmallows no longer contain the plant roots and instead consist of corn syrup.
National Confectioners Association, Marshmallows, 2021, https://candyusa.com/marshmallows/#:~:text=History%20of%20Marshmallows,that%20grows%20wild%20in%20marshes.
BoutenkoFilms, Wild Edibles with Sergei Boutenko: Common Mallow–Malva Parviflora is a Relative of Okra!, 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puOwwQFOYiA
USDA Plants Database, Malva parviflora, 2021, https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=MAPA5
Calflora, Malva parviflora, 2021, calflora.org/app/taxon?crn=5354
The Jepson Herbarium, Malva parviflora, 2012, https://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=32604
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