Herb: Dwarf Mallow

Latin name: Malva pusilla

Synonyms: Malva rotundifolia

Family: Malvaceae (Mallow Family)

Medicinal use of Dwarf Mallow:

The leaves are demulcent and have occasionally been used internally in the treatment of inflammations of the digestive and urinary systems. Externally they have been used as a poultice for bruises, inflammations, piles etc. This plant is less active than the common mallow (M. sylvestris) and the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis). The seed is demulcent. It is used in the treatment of coughs, bronchitis, ulceration of the bladder and haemorrhoids. It is applied externally in the treatment of skin diseases.

Description of the plant:


30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)

June to

Habitat of the herb:

Waste places, foreshores etc.

Edible parts of Dwarf Mallow:

Leaves - raw or cooked. A mild pleasant flavour, it can be used in quantity and makes an excellent salad plant. It is possibly the best for flavour in this genus though it is much lower yielding than the annual M. verticillata "Crispa" or the perennials M. alcea and M. moschata. Seed - raw or cooked. Best used before it is fully mature, the seed has a pleasant nutty taste but it is rather small and very fiddly to harvest.

Other uses of the herb:

Cream, yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads. The root can be used as a toothbrush.

Propagation of Dwarf Mallow:

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

Cultivation of the herb:

Waste places, foreshores etc.

Known hazards of Malva pusilla:

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.