What we grow - Biodiversity

Wild mallow


The wild mallow (Malva sylvestris – Malvaceae family) is a plant that grows spontaneously in the Mediterranean area. The name derives from the Latin “malva” meaning “soft”, because its emollient properties have been known since ancient times. It is a plant native to Europe and Asia.


It is an annual, biennial or perennial herbaceous plant. It has an erect or prostrate stem that can grow from 60-80 centimeters. The leaves have a palminervian shape, with 5/7 lobes and irregularly serrated margin. The flowers are gathered at the axil of the leaves and appear from April to October, pink in color with dark streaks, with bilobed petals. The fruit is a circular polychaene.


Active substances are found in flowers and leaves which are rich in mucilage. In addition, it also contains potassium, calcium oxalate, vitamins and pectin. In cuisine, sprouts, fresh flowers or leaflets are used, or as vegetables, making intestinal functions easier thanks to the mucilages that swell and gently press on the walls of the intestine, stimulating its contraction and therefore facilitating its emptying. In herbal medicine the leaves and flowers are traded mainly for their anti-inflammatory and emollient properties, for both external and internal use. The plant is widely used against inflammation of the mucous membranes and catarrhal forms of the first bronchial passages, and also as a laxative, anti-inflammatory, emollient and ophthalmic. For these uses the leaves are prepared in decoction, so that the mucilages can dissolve in the water. It is a plant visited by bees for pollen and nectar.


The wild mallow is widespread in Italy in most of the territory, and is mainly present in the meadows and in the uncultivated places of the plains.