Mallow, Common, Malva neglecta

Life Cycle

Annual, biennial or short lived perennial.


Reproducing only by seed.


Stems much-branched, erect or trailing on the ground with upturned ends, hairy, 10-60cm long.


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 long.

Flowers and Fruit

Flowers in axils of leaves; sepals 5, in a ring; petals 5, white to pinkish or lilac, 1-1.5cm 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.

Roots and Underground Structures

Stout taproot.


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.

Distinguishing Features

It is distinguished by its low stature, its rounded to kidney-shaped leaves, its flowers 1-1.5cm across witha central column of stamens and the individual sections in the ring of fruits rounded and not prominently veined.

Figure #1.

A. Seedling B. Base of mature plant C. End of flowering stem D. Fruit (ring of seeds) E. Fruit (ring of seeds)

Figure #2.


Figure #3.

2 leaf seedling

Figure #4.

Figure #5.

Alternate stem orientation of common mallow

Figure #6.


Figure #7.

Figure #8.

Five pinkish white petals of common mallow.

Figure #9.

Mature plant