It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 80 cm tall, with hairy stems and foliage. The leaves are alternate, 2–8 cm long and 2–8 cm broad, palmately lobed with five to seven lobes; basal leaves on the lower stem are very shallowly lobed, those higher on the stems are deeply divided, with narrow, acuminate lobes. The flowers are produced in clusters in the leaf axils, each flower 3.2–5 cm diameter, with five bright pink petals with a truncated to notched apex; they have a distinctive musky odour. The fruit is a disc-shaped schizocarp 3–6 mm diameter, containing 10–16 seeds, the seeds individually enclosed in a mericarp covered in whitish hairs. It has a chromosome count of 2n=42.
Cultivation and uses
It is often grown as an ornamental plant for its attractive scented flowers, produced for a long period through the summer. Several cultivars have been selected for variation on flower colour, including 'Rosea' with dark pink flowers. The form 'Alba' (white flowered) has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
Leaves and flowers of muskmallow are common additions to "wild" salads. The seeds are also edible.
- "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
- Flora Europaea: Malva moschata
- Med-Checklist: Malva moschata
- Flora of NW Europe: Malva moschata
- Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. ISBN 0-340-40170-2
- Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
- Malva Pages: Musk Mallows (section Bismalva)
- "RHS Plant Selector - Malva moschata f. alba". Retrieved 19 July 2013.
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