The various species of mallow are plants that are very common in our fields, from the mountains to the plains. They are certainly not among the most ornamental essences, but introducing them in our garden can be a good choice. They are in fact very precious for their medicinal virtues and are capable of making our green space more alive, attracting a large number of birds and pollinating insects.
The wild mallow, or forest mallow, (malva sylvestris) is a perennial herb plant, but which develops mostly as a biennial. It belongs to the large Malvaceae family (to which marshmallow and hibiscus also belong, for example).
It is an endemic plant from all over Europe, Asia and northern Africa. It grows in the wild in meadows, pastures and alongside roads.
It is characterized by slightly tomentose leaves, dark green in color, with five toothed lobes. It produces stems up to 90 cm tall, erect and also hairy to the touch with cupped flowers on the top with 5 medium pink petals crossed by darker veins, tending to purple. Production continues throughout the summer. The fruits, flat and medium brown in color, contain numerous wedge-shaped seeds.
For ornamental purposes some hybrids have been created, with smaller dimensions and larger and more striking flowers. Among the best known we mention the sylvestris var. Mauritania, with large, very lively corollas, more tending towards purple. Another interesting cultivar is Primley Blue, suitable for borders and natural areas. It blooms in pale pink with veins tending towards blue.