Go to content

Malva neglecta (dwarf mallow)

Malva neglecta is a low-growing, ground-covering annual species that grows up to 30-60 cm. It is spread from Europe to Asia and north Africa. The species has quite showy white or pink flowers and is a good plant for pollinators. It is common to find the species on disturbed grounds and in some parts of the world it is an invasive species. The plant is edible and has a pleasant mild flavor. Both leaves, shoots, flowers and seeds can be eaten, either raw or cooked. Leaves and roots boiled in water will thicken the water, and when whipped the residue can be used as egg-white substitute. The medical uses for common mallow are like other mallow species and the more widely used marsh mallow. Uses include external treatment of bruises, insect bites, diseases of the respiratory system and inflammation of the urinary- and digestive systems. Leaves and flowers are the most used parts, and these can be eaten as they are or used in tea.


Seeds are sown in early April in a broadcast tray. Use tray substrate and put under light conditions, approximately 20-23 °C. Cover seeds to a depth of 0.5 cm and transplant the plants into small individual pots in pot substrate when large enough to handle. The pots can be placed in an unheated greenhouse, or outside when the risk of frost is over. When fully rooted in the pots, plant outside in field in semi-shade or sunny settings.

Family: Malvaceae

Swedish: skär kattost

Finnish: katinjuustomalva

Norwegian: småkatost

Danish: rundbladet katost

Icelandic: leynistokkrós

Leaves and flowers are the most used parts, and these can be eaten as they are or used in tea.
All Malva-species may have problem with rust, weakening the plants and even damaging the seeds. To prevent rust, make sure to use a suitable crop rotation. Flowering time for Malva neglecta is June to September and seed harvest normally take place in August and September the first year. Due to the extended flowering period, seeds of Malva neglecta can mature gradually and unevenly. Harvest when seeds are brownish and always in dry conditions. The seeds forms a round “cheese”, when mature they can easily be separated from each other.