Herb: Cheeseweed

Latin name: Malva parviflora

Family: Malvaceae (Mallow Family)

Medicinal use of Cheeseweed:

The whole plant is emollient and pectoral. It can be used as a poultice on swellings, running sores and boils. The seeds are demulcent. They are used in the treatment of coughs and ulcers in the bladder. A decoction of the roots or leaves has been used as a hair rinse to remove dandruff and to soften the hair.

Description of the plant:


50 cm
(1 foot)

Habitat of the herb:

Fields and waste land.

Edible parts of Cheeseweed:

Leaves - raw or cooked as a potherb. A mild pleasant flavour, they make a very acceptable alternative to lettuce in salads. Immature seeds - raw or cooked. They are used to make a creamed vegetable soup that resembles pea soup. A few leaves are also added for colouring. The seeds have a pleasant nutty flavour, though they are too small for most people to want to collect in quantity.

Other uses of the herb:

The seed contains up to 18% of a fatty oil. No more details are given, though the oil is likely to be edible. Cream, yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads. A decoction of the roots or leaves has been used as a hair rinse to soften the hair.

Propagation of Cheeseweed:

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

Cultivation of the herb:

Fields and waste land.

Known hazards of Malva parviflora:

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.