Common mallow

Malva neglecta Wallr. Malvaceae (Mallow family)

Life cycle

Spreading annual or biennial.

Common mallow plant
Common mallow plant.


Cotyledons are heart-shaped with three main veins. Leaves are alternate, rounded with a heart-shaped base, palmately veined and hairy, with long, slender, hairy petioles. Margins are round-toothed and obscurely lobed.

Common mallow seedling common mallow leaf
Common mallow seedling (left). Common mallow leaf (right).


Spreading and partly erect stems are branched from the base and up to 1 foot tall.

Flowers and fruit

Flowers have five white and purple-tinged petals; flowers are formed on stalks in the leaf axils. Fruit are capsules that resemble buttons or cheese wheels. Each capsule contains 12 to 15 compartments; each compartment has one reddish brown to black, flattened, rounded seed with a notch.

Common mallow flower Common mallow fruit
Common mallow flower (left). Common mallow fruit (right).


Seeds and stem fragments.

Similar weeds

Venice mallow (Hibiscus trionum L.)

Differs by having leaves with three distinct, coarsely toothed lobes that may be further divided into as many as seven lobes; and pale yellow flowers with a purple base.

Venice mallow seedling
Venice mallow seedling.

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