Heirloom & Perennial Ltd

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Malva Sylvestris, Common Mallow


A very easily grown plant, succeeding in ordinary garden soil and in poor soils. It prefers a reasonably well-drained and moderately fertile soil in a sunny position, where it will produce a better crop of salad leaves.

Plants are hardy to about -20°c.

Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. 

Cream, yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads.

The leaves are used to relieve insect bites and stings.

A fibre obtained from the stems is useful for cordage, textiles and paper making.

Sow early spring in situ. Germination should take place within 2 weeks.

When grown on nitrogen rich soils (and particularly when these are cultivated inorganically), the plant tends to concentrate high levels of nitrates in its leaves. The leaves are perfectly wholesome at all other times.

Edible uses

Leaves - raw or cooked. Mucilaginous with a mild pleasant flavour, they are nice in soups where they act as a thickener. The young leaves also make a very acceptable substitute for lettuce in a salad.

Immature seed - raw. Used as a nibble, the seeds have a nice nutty flavour but are too fiddly for most people to want to gather in quantity.

Flowers - raw. Added to salads or used as a garnish. A pleasant mild flavour, with a similar texture to the leaves, they make a pleasant and pretty addition to the salad bowl. The leaves are a tea substitute.


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