Ontario Weeds: Musk 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: Musk Mallow, Malva moschata L.,

Other Names: mauve musquée

Family: Mallow Family (Malvaceae)

General Description: Perennial, reproducing by seed.

Photos and Pictures

Musk mallow.

Musk mallow. A. Base of plant. B. top of flowering stem. C. Centre of flower showing several thread-like styles and stigmas protruding from the top of the central column of united stamens
Musk mallow.
A. Base of plant. B. top of flowering stem. C. Centre of flower showing several thread-like styles and stigmas protruding from the top of the central column of united stamens

Stems & Roots: Stems erect, 40-100cm (16-40in.) high, rough-hairy.

Leaves: Leaves in basal tufts or rosettes and alternate (1 per node) on erect stems; rosette leaves and lowermost stem leaves long-stalked, shallowly lobed and with rounded teeth but never deeply dissected or divided; mid and upper stem leaves long-stalked to short-stalked or stalkles near the top, deeply cut or divided into 5 to 7 major segments, each segment with numerous, irregular, rounded or sharp teeth.

Flowers & Fruit: Flowers in clusters near the ends of the stem and upper branches, and on long stalks form the upper leaves; sepals forming a 5-lobed cup about 1cm (2/5in.) across; petals 5, united near their bases, white to rosy ot pale purple, each one triangular or somewhat heart-shaped, about 2.5cm (1in.) long so the flower is about 5cm (2in.) across; the filaments on the many stamens united into a thin erect column around the several styles and standing like a small peg about 10mm (2/5in.) high in the middle of hte flower; fruit a circle of slightly fused dry sections ("seeds") around a common centre, and usually enclosed by the persistent sepals after the petals fall. Flowers from late June until autumn.

Habitat: Musk mallow, once widely cultivated as an arnamental in perennial flower gardens, has escaped to roadsides, fields and waste places throughout most of southern Ontario.

Similar Species: It is ditinguished by its erect habit, its simple basal leaves and deeply divided stem leaves, its large 5-petaled flowers with many stamens united into a column in the centre of the flower, and its dry fruits arranged in a circle.

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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