The common mallow grows in any areas where the soil has been disturbed. It is from the family Malvaceae, which includes a number of desirable plants, most notably cotton, hibiscus, and okra. One species of this family (Althaea officinalis) is actually the original ingredient in the making of marshmallows. This plant is considered an invasive weed in the United States. It is often referred to as an annual, winter annual, or biennial plant because it can be found growing all year.
Mallows only reproduce by seed and their seeds have a very thick coat which slows germination but allows them to survive for quite some time in the soil. If the seed coat gets nicked or damaged in any way, water can penetrate and the seed will germinate.
Seedlings send out a taproot that quickly becomes woody and is difficult to remove by hand or even with tools. Removing seedlings before they have less than four true leaves is best. Removing plants before they flower and go to seed is essential to keeping the seeds out of the soil for future seasons. Solarization and flaming are not effective weed treatments.
The Common mallow is easily confused with the Common Carolina geranium weed. However, the geranium weed has more deeply-dissected leaves.
- Life Cycle:
- Recommended Propagation Strategy:
- Almost every state in the US
- The leaves and seeds are edible
Whole Plant Traits:
- Plant Type:
- Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
- Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
- Fruit Value To Gardener:
- Fruit Type:
- Fruit Description:
- This plant is often called Cheese weed or Cheese plant because the seeds form in a round flattened pod that looks like a wheel of cheese or a pumpkin. There are 10-12 seeds per pod.
- Flower Color:
- Flower Value To Gardener:
- Flower Bloom Time:
- Flower Petals:
- 4-5 petals/rays
- Flower Description:
- Flowers appear in the summer as showy papery white, to light pink to light purple, 5-petaled blooms. The petals are notched at the tip so a blossom may appear to have 10 petals.
- Leaf Color:
- Leaf Feel:
- Leaf Value To Gardener:
- Leaf Shape:
- Hairs Present:
- Leaf Description:
- This plant has rounded fuzzy gray-green leaves.
- Stem Is Aromatic: