Ontario Weeds: Common mallow

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Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds, Order this publication

Table of Contents

  1. Name
  2. Other Names
  3. Family
  4. General Description
  5. Stems and Roots
  6. Leaves
  7. Flowers and Fruit
  8. Habitat
  9. Similar Species
  10. Related Links

Name: Common mallow, Malva neglecta Wallr.,

Other Names: mauve négligée, Cheeses, Garden mallow, Round-leaved mallow, amours

Family: Mallow Family (Malvaceae)

General Description: Annual, biennial or short-lived perennial, reproducing only by seed.

Photos and Pictures

Common mallow.


Common mallow.


Common mallow. A. Seedling. B.Base of flowering stem. D. Fruit (ring of "seeds").
Common mallow.
A. Seedling. B.Base of flowering stem.
D. Fruit (ring of "seeds").

Stems & Roots: Stems much-branched, erect or trailing on the ground with upturned ends, hairy, 10-60cm (4-24in.) long, from a stout taproot.

Leaves: Leaves alternate (1 per node), long-stalked; blades rounded or kidney-shaped with a deep heart-shaped base, shallowly lobed and toothed; stipules green to purplish or brownish, triangular, 2.5-6mm (1/10-1/4in.) long.

Flowers & Fruit: Flowers in axils of leaves; sepals 5, in a ring; petals 5, white to pinkish or lilac, 1-1.5cm (2/5-3/5in.) across and with a column of stamens in the centre covering the pistil; fruit a circle of about 12 to 14 dry sections ("seeds"), each section having flat sides but being rounded on its back, very finely hairy, and containing 1 dark brown seed. Flowers from June to late autumn.

Habitat: Common mallow occurs throughout most of Ontario and is a very frequent weed in lawns, gardens, barnyards, roadsides, waste places and occasionally in cultivated fields.

Similar Species: It is distinguished by its low stature, its rounded to kidney-shaped leaves, its flowers 1-1.5cm (2/5-3/5in.) across witha central column of stamens and the individual sections in the ring of fruits rounded and not prominently veined.

Related Links

... on general Weed topics
... on weed identification, order OMAFRA Publication 505: Ontario Weeds
... on weed control, order OMAFRA Publication 75: Guide To Weed Control

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