T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Malva parviflora (Small flower mallow)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Malvales
Family: Malvaceae
Subfamily: Malvoideae
Genus: Malva
Species: M. parviflora
Scientific name: Malva parviflora
Common names: Small-flowered mallow, Little mallow, Marshmallow

Malva parviflora is an erect, sprawling or decumbent exotic annual weed that is dynamic after autumn and winter rains, growing to 50 cm in height. The broad leaves have 5 to 7 lobes and are 8 to 10 cm in diameter. 
It has small white or pink flowers with five 4 to 6 mm long petals. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees and its self.
The fruit is a schizocarp (a dry fruit which splits into individual carpels). It is 7-8mm in diameter and separates into 8-12, 1 seeded mericarps. The schizocarp is disc-shaped surrounded by the calyx (sepals of the flower) and brown when ripe. 
The stems are covered with stiff star-like (stellate) hairs and can be erect or ascending (at first spreading horizontally and then becoming erect) and rather fibrous. 
Malva parviflora was originally from the Mediterranean and European region. Its habitat is variable, occurring on all soil types; most common in waste places, in sheep yards, around farm buildings, closed yards, watercourses and roadsides and it avoids acid soils.
M. parviflora leaf extracts possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities.



 

 

The sectioned fruit (schizocarp)


Mallow leaf