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Malva moschata - L.                
                 
Common Name Musk Mallow
Family Malvaceae
Synonyms
Known Hazards When grown on nitrogen rich soils (and particularly when these are used inorganically), the plant tends to concentrate high levels of nitrates in its leaves[76]. The leaves are perfectly wholesome at all other times.
Habitats Grassy places, pastures, hedgebanks etc, especially on rich soils, avoiding acid soils.
Range Most of Europe, including Britain, south to N. Africa.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       
Bloom Color: Pink, White. Main Bloom Time: Early fall, Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Upright or erect.

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Malva moschata is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in) by 0.6 m (2ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, self.The plant is self-fertile.


USDA hardiness zone : 3-10


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Malva moschata Musk Mallow


Malva moschata Musk Mallow
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Meadow; Hedgerow;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Leaves - raw or cooked[K]. A mild pleasant flavour[K]. The leaves are mucilaginous and fairly bland, we use them in bulk in summer salads[K]. They make a very good perennial substitute for lettuce in a salad, producing fresh leaves from spring until the middle of summer, or until the autumn from spring germinating plants[K]. Flowers - raw[K]. A very decorative addition to the salad bowl, they have a very mild flavour[K]. Seed - raw. Best used before it is fully mature, the seed has a pleasant nutty taste but it is rather small and fiddly to harvest[K].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiphlogistic;  Astringent;  Demulcent;  Diuretic;  Emollient;  Expectorant;  Laxative;  Poultice;  Salve.

All parts of the plant are antiphlogistic, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, laxative, salve[4, 7, 9, 21, 46, 222, 238]. The leaves and flowers can be eaten as part of the diet, or a tea can be made from the leaves, flowers or roots[222]. The leaves and flowers are the main part used, their demulcent properties making them valuable as a poultice for bruise, inflammations, insect bites etc, or taken internally in the treatment of respiratory system diseases or inflammation of the digestive or urinary systems[4, 238]. They have similar properties, but are considered to be inferior, to the common mallow (M. sylvestris) and the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) and are seldom used internally[4]. The plant is an excellent laxative for young children[7].
Other Uses
Dye;  Fibre.

Cream, yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads[168]. A fibre obtained from the stems is used for cordage, textiles and paper making[115].
Cultivation details                                         
Landscape Uses:Border 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]. Hardy to about -25°c[187]. A very ornamental plant[1]. It is very variable in form, especially with regard to the degree of laciniation of the leaves[17]. The crushed leaves have a musk-like smell[245]. Plants are generally quite short-lived though they can self-sow freely when in a suitable position and usually more than maintain themselves[233, K]. If the plant is pruned back to the main branches as it comes into flower, then it will produce a fresh flush of leaves in late summer for salad use[K]. A good plant for the summer meadow[24]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. Prone to infestation by rust fungus[200]. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Edible, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Naturalizing.
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - best sown in early spring in a cold frame. The seed germinates quickly and easily. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in their permanent positions in the early summer[K]. If you have sufficient seed then it can be sown outdoors in situ in the middle to late spring. Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 - 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer. Cuttings of side shoots, July/August in a cold frame[111].
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
17200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[7]Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
[9]Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
[17]Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles.
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
[21]Lust. J. The Herb Book.
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
[24]Baines. C. Making a Wildlife Garden.
Fairly good with lots of ideas about creating wildlife areas in the garden.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[111]Sanders. T. W. Popular Hardy Perennials.
A fairly wide range of perennial plants that can be grown in Britain and how to grow them.
[115]Johnson. C. P. The Useful Plants of Great Britain.
Written about a hundred years ago, but still a very good guide to the useful plants of Britain.
[168]Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants.
A very good and readable book on dyeing.
[187]Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Perennials Volumes 1 and 2.
Photographs of over 3,000 species and cultivars of ornamental plants together with brief cultivation notes, details of habitat etc.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[222]Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
[233]Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[245]Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World.
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Shilpa Vakshasya Mon May 12 10:16:50 2003

Kindly inform us about the distribution and status of the plant, where it is cultivated and where it is used as Salad.

Elizabeth H.
elle Mon Nov 27 2006
I've found the taste of the leaves fairly indifferent although not unpleasant, and have only added them to salads as an extra, never the main event. Still, M. moschata has to be one of the loveliest British wildflowers.
Elizabeth H.
Rachel A. Garner Tue Jul 24 2007
I've an inundation in my yard of something that may be some kind of malva, but I've not been able to pin it down. I would like to ID it sufficiently to use it as a salad green. It is short stemmed and is blanketing most of my large back yard----making an ideal cover-crop. In the spring it had tiny blue flowers. It made a very pretty sea of blue. The leaf resembles the drawing of a salad-green type of malva displayed in one of my weed-eating books. The closest I can come for leaf shape is a somewhat rounded, kidney-shape, or miniature lily pad with five or six rounded protrusions or scallops on the edges. It was listed as a nutritious, wayside weed . It is fairly moist here in Missouri. We don't get much of a winter and this weed is prolific. Does the weed, malva, grow profusely in this state? Do you have a picture of the leaf of the short variety resembling what I've described? Rachel Garner 417 935 5552
Elizabeth H.
Boris Sat Mar 1 2008
It's very tasty and grows very well in northwestern Germany.
Elizabeth H.
Lauren Leach-Steffens Wed Feb 27 2008
Rachel, what you're describing sounds like ground ivy, which is in the mint family. The flowers of malvas are five-petaled (as you see above); while those of ground ivy are two-lipped (like a tiny mint).
Elizabeth H.
Mon Jul 21 2008
I'm Derrick Ditchburn the photographer and would like to point out that the link on my name goes to this site http://members.home.net/index.php
Elizabeth H.
Bruce Wed Jun 17 2009
Does anyone know where to get seed for this?
Elizabeth H.
ambre Wed Sep 2 2009
you can get one variety at this site.

oikos

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