Common mallow

Malva neglecta Wallr.

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, hairy and found on 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 a button or cheese wheel. Each capsule contains 12 to 15 compartments; each compartment has one reddish brown to black, flattened, and 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 flower Venice Mallow Leaf Venice mallow plant
Venice mallow flower (left). Venice mallow leaf (middle). Venice mallow plant (right).

Print a PDF of this page: Common mallow

Back to identifying nursery weeds.

The MSU IPM Program maintains this site as an access point to pest management information at MSU. The IPM Program is administered within the Department of Entomology, fueled by research from the AgBioResearch, delivered to citizens through MSU Extension, and proud to be a part of Project GREEEN.