Herb: Bull Mallow

Latin name: Malva nicaeensis

Synonyms: Malva borealis

Family: Malvaceae (Mallow Family)

Medicinal use of Bull Mallow:

A decoction of the plant has been used in the treatment of migraine headaches. A poultice of the heated leaves has been applied to the head or stomach to relieve pain. A decoction of the roots has been used to treat fevers, especially in children.

Description of the plant:


50 cm
(1 foot)

June to

Habitat of the herb:

Stony and rocky ground.

Edible parts of Bull Mallow:

Leaves - raw or cooked. A very mild flavour with a mucilaginous texture, they make a very acceptable part of a mixed salad, or a good filling for a salad sandwich, though they are somewhat boring on their own. The cooked leaf has a rather slimy texture. Seed - raw. Best used before it is fully mature, the seed has a pleasant nutty taste but it is rather small and fiddly to harvest.

Other uses of the herb:

Cream, yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads. A decoction of the roots has been used as a hair rinse.

Propagation of Bull Mallow:

Seed - sow early spring in situ. Germination should take place within 2 weeks.

Cultivation of the herb:

Stony and rocky ground.

Known hazards of Malva nicaeensis:

Although we have seen no reports of toxicity for this species, when grown on nitrogen rich soils (and particularly when these are cultivated inorganically), the leaves of some species tend to concentrate high levels of nitrates in their leaves. The leaves are perfectly wholesome at all other times.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.