Botanical Name :Malva meschata
Species: M. moschata
Common Names : Musk-mallow
Habitat :Malva meschata is native to Europe and southwestern Asia, from Spain north to the British Isles and Poland, and east to southern Russia and Turkey.It has been introduced to and become naturalised in several areas with temperate climates away from its native range, including Scandinavia, New Zealand, and North America.It occurs on dry, but fertile soils at altitudes from sea level up to 1,500 m. Natural hybrids with the closely related Malva alcea are occasionally found.
Malva meschata is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 80 cm tall, with hairy stems and foliage. The leaves are alternate, 2–8 cm long and 2–8 cm broad, palmately lobed with five to seven lobes; basal leaves on the lower stem are very shallowly lobed, those higher on the stems are deeply divided, with narrow, acuminate lobes. The flowers are produced in clusters in the leaf axils, each flower 3.2–5 cm diameter, with five bright pink petals with a truncated to notched apex; they have a distinctive musky odour. The fruit is a disc-shaped schizocarp 3–6 mm diameter, containing 10–16 seeds, the seeds individually enclosed in a mericarp covered in whitish hairs. It has a chromosome count of 2n=42.The flowers are usually pollinated by bees. CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
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. Hardy to about -25°c. A very ornamental plant. It is very variable in form, especially with regard to the degree of laciniation of the leaves. The crushed leaves have a musk-like smell. Plants are generally quite short-lived though they can self-sow freely when in a suitable position and usually more than maintain themselves. 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. A good plant for the summer meadow. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. Prone to infestation by rust fungus.
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. 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
Leaves – raw or cooked. A mild pleasant flavour. The leaves are mucilaginous and fairly bland, we use them in bulk in summer salads. 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. Flowers – raw. A very decorative addition to the salad bowl, they have a very mild flavour. 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.
Antiphlogistic; Astringent; Demulcent; Diuretic; Emollient; Expectorant; Laxative; Poultice; 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 common mallow (M. sylvestris) and the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) and are seldom used internally. The plant is an excellent laxative for young children.
Other Uses :
Cream, yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads. A fibre obtained from the stems is used for cordage, textiles and paper making.
It is often grown as an ornamental plant for its attractive scented flowers, produced for a long period through the summer. Several cultivars have been selected for variation on flower colour, including ‘Rosea’ with dark pink flowers. The form ‘Alba’ (white flowered) has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.
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. The leaves are perfectly wholesome at all other times.
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.