Malva sylvestris L.
Malva is from the Greek malache meaning soft and refers to the relaxing nature of these plants.
Summary:An erect or semi-erect, biennial or perennial shrub with round, 3-7 lobed leaves and rose-purple flowers with dark veins.
Two. Heart shaped. The cotyledon is 8 to 12 mm long with a petiole of approximately the same length, and is hairless or has a few hairs principally on the petiole. Tip pointed to rounded. Sides convex to constricted. Base notched. The seedling has a hypocotyl but no epicotyl.
First leaves:The leaves develop singly, the first being 12 to 18 mm in diameter with a hairy petiole of approximately the same length. Later leaves are more deeply lobed.
Leaves:The plant develops as a loose rosette-like clump.
Petiole - Long.
Blade - Round in outline, 3-7 lobed, 100 mm in diameter.
Stem leaves - Alternate and reach 100 mm in diameter with a long petiole. They have few or no hairs on the upper surface, a few hairs on the lower surface especially on the veins, and mostly simple with a few double or star hairs on the petiole. The stem leaves have 3 to 7, usually 3 to 5 lobes, and are more deeply lobed than the rosette leaves.
Stems:The stems reach 900 mm long, are solid, circular in cross-section, and have simple and a few double or star hairs. Branching especially from the base.
Flower head:Several flowers in a cluster in the leaf axils.
Flowers:25 to 40 mm in diameter.
Bracts - 3 bracteoles.
Calyx - 5 lobed.
Petals - 5 petals that are rose-purple in colour with dark veins and have notched tips.
Stamens - Staminal tube divided into numerous filaments.
Fruit:Round, button or pumpkin like capsules, composed of 8-12, wedge or kidney shaped fruitlets in a ring. One seed in each fruitlet.
Key Characters:Heart shaped cotyledons.
Leaves have 5-7 lobes and are notched at the base where the petiole joins.
5 petalled, rose purple flowers with dark veins. Petals are notched.
Biennial or perennial. Germination occurs in the autumn.
Flowering times:Seed Biology and Germination:
Population Dynamics and Dispersal:
Spread by seed.
Origin and History:Europe and temperate Asia.
Distribution:NSW, QLD, TAS.
Occurs in most parts of Tasmania, but is more common in the South than the North.
Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.
Detrimental:It is principally a weed of stockyards and disturbed areas, and is of little economic importance.
Toxicity:Probably toxic like the other Mallow species
Management and Control:Thresholds:
Cultivation and herbicides can provide good control.
Herbicide resistance:Biological Control:
Dwarf Mallow (M. neglecta)
Mallow-of-Nice (M. nicaeensis) is very similar.
Musk Mallow (M. moschata)
Small-flowered Mallow (M. parviflora) has smaller flowers and more star hairs on the stems and leaves.
Tree Mallow (M. arborea was Lavatera arborea) is much larger.
Plants of similar appearance:The Mallows are difficult to separate in the young stages, though Small-flowered Mallow appears to have numerous star hairs present on stem and leaves while Tall Mallow has few. In the mature stage the flower size separates these species. Mallow of Nice (Malva nicaeensis), which is fairly common in the North-West of Tasmania, is very similar to Tall Mallow.
References:Hyde-Wyatt, B.H. and Morris, D.I. (1975). Tasmanian weed handbook. (Tasmanian Department of Agriculture, Hobart, Tasmania). P92-93. Diagrams.
Lamp, C. and Collet, F. (1990). A Field Guide to Weeds in Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne).
Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #795.6.
Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.