Malva neglecta

Botanical Name : Malva neglecta
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Malva
Species: M. neglecta
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Common Name:Common mallow,  Buttonweed, Cheeseplant, Cheeseweed, Dwarf mallow and Roundleaf mallow.

Habitat :  Malva neglecta is native to the following Palearctic Countries:

Macaronesia: Canary Islands
Northern Africa: Algeria, Morocco
Arabian Peninsula: Saudi Arabia
Western Asia: Afghanistan, Cyprus, Sinai, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Syria, Turkey
Caucasus: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
Soviet Middle Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Mongolia: Mongolia
China: Xinjiang
Indian Subcontinent: India, Pakistan
Northern Europe: Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom
Middle Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland
Southeastern Europe: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Montenegro, Sardinia, Serbia, Slovenia, Romania,
Southwestern Europe: France, Portugal, Spain

This weed grows on waste and cultivated ground, usually on dry soils, frequently in coastal habitats, on dry walls or as a weed of cultivated ground

Description:
Malva neglecta is an annual plant  growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to September, and the seeds ripen from Jul to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, self.The plant is self-fertile.

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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 dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:    
A very easily grown plant, succeeding in ordinary garden soil, though it prefers a reasonably well-drained and moderately fertile soil in a sunny position. It also succeeds in dry soils. At one time this plant was often cultivated for its edible leaves. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. Prone to infestation by rust fungus.

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Propagation:   
Seed – sow early spring or autumn in situ. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. The seed germinates in the autumn in the wild.

Edible Uses:
Leaves and young shoots – raw or cooked. A mild pleasant flavour, they are said to be highly nutritious. They can be added in quantity to salads, and make an excellent lettuce substitute, they can also be cooked as greens. The leaves are mucilaginous, when cooked in soups etc they tend to thicken it in much the same way as okra (Abelmoschatus esculenta). Some people find this mucilaginous texture unpleasant, especially if the leaves are cooked[K]. Immature seeds – raw or cooked. A pleasant nutty flavour, they are nice as a nibble but too small for most people to want to collect in quantity. A decoction of the roots is used as an egg-white substitute for making meringue. The roots are brought to the boil in water and then simmered until the water becomes quite thick. This liquid can then be whisked in much the same way as egg whites. A tea can be made from the dried leaves

Medicinal Uses:
Antiinflammatory;  Antiphlogistic;  Astringent;  Demulcent;  Diuretic;  Emollient;  Expectorant;  Laxative;  Poultice;  Purgative;  Salve.

All parts of the plant are antiphlogistic, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, laxative, salve. The leaves and flowers can be eaten as part of the diet, or a tea can be made from the leaves, flowers or roots. 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. They have similar properties, but are considered to be inferior to the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis), though they are stronger acting than the common mallow (M. sylvestris). They are seldom used internally.

Mallow root is highly regarded by herbalists as an effective demulcent and emollient.  Both of these actions are attributed to the plant’s mucilaginous qualities.  Roundleaf mallow is used as a lotion or internal medication for an injury or swelling (Navajo). All parts of the plant are astringent, laxative, urine-inducing, and have agents that counteract inflammation, that soften and soothe the skin when applied locally, and that induce the removal (coughing up) of mucous secretions from the lungs. 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. They have similar properties, but are considered to be inferior to the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis), though they are stronger acting than the common mallow (M. sylvestris). The plant is an excellent laxative for young children.

Other Uses  :
Dye;  Teeth.

Cream, yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads. The root is used as a toothbrush

Known Hazards :  When grown on nitrogen rich soils (and particularly when these are inorganic), the plant tends to concentrate high levels of nitrates in its leaves. The leaves are perfectly wholesome at all other times.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malva_neglecta
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Malva+neglecta
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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