Malva parviflora – Cheeseweed Mallow
Scientific Name: Malva parviflora
Common Names: Cheeseweed Mallow, Cheese Weed, Egyptian Mallow, Little Mallow, Small-flowered Mallow, Buttonweed, Cheeseplant
Duration: Annual, Biennial, Perennial
Growth Habit: Herb/Forb
Arizona Native Status: Introduced. This naturalized weed is native to the region from the Mediterranean eastward to India.
Habitat: Desert, Upland, Mountain, Riparian. It often grows in disturbed areas like vacant lots and drainage ditches, and in the desert, it can be found growing in mesquite bosques.
Flower Color: White, Lavender pink, Lavender
Flowering Season: Spring, Summer
Height: To 39 inches (1 m) tall
Description: The flowers emerge from the base of the leaf stalks. The individual flowers are 1/4 inch (6 mm) wide and have 5 petals that are similar in length to the green sepals. The flowers are followed by wrinkled, disk-like, fruits that are sectioned into lobes that look like slices from a wheel of cheese. The leaves are dark green and have 5 to 7 toothed, rounded lobes.
The similar Common Mallow (Malva neglecta) has flowers with petals longer than the sepals.
Edible – The leaves are edible either raw or cooked, but this plant can accumulate nitrates from the soil due to fertilizer or agricultural runoff, so avoid eating any plants that may have been exposed to excess nitrates.
Poisonous – Although otherwise edible, this plant can accumulate toxic levels of nitrates from the soil.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Malvaceae – Mallow family
Genus: Malva L. – mallow
Species: Malva parviflora L. – cheeseweed mallow
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