Information on Mallow Common

Common Name: Mallow Common
Scientific Name: Malva sylvestris
Irish Name: Lus na meall Muire
Family Group: Malvaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


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Mallow Common could sometimes be confused with:

Mallow, Musk, Tree-mallow,

Upright and robust, this is a perennial of disturbed, dry ground, railway embankments and roadsides, reaching a height of 1.5 metres.  Its pretty pink-purple flowers (20-50mm), which appear from June to October, have five widely notched, dark veined petals which are well separated at their base.  The leaves are rounded at the base of the plant but the palmate stem leaves have five toothed lobes.  The seeds are enclosed in round capsules.  It is thought this plant was introduced into Ireland.  It is a member of the family Malvaceae. 

I identified this growing in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin in 2007 and photographed it at that time.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Mallow Common
Mallow Common

Mallow plants played an important part of Irish folk medicine.  As an ointment for sores and ulcers:

'Boiled and then strained, the affected part is to be rubbed with the liquid and a poultice made from the boiled leaves and applied afterwards'.   

From the National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin.  NFC S.36:247. From Laois.