Malva moschata

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Malva moschata
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malvales
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Malva
M. moschata
Binomial name
Malva moschata

Malva moschata, the musk mallow or musk-mallow,[1] is a species of flowering plant in the family Malvaceae, native to Europe and southwestern Asia, from Spain north to the British Isles and Poland, and east to southern Russia and Turkey.[2][3][4][5] Growing to 60 cm (24 in) tall, it is a herbaceous perennial with hairy stems and foliage, and pink saucer-shaped flowers in summer.



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 in 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 in diameter, containing 10–16 seeds, the seeds individually enclosed in a mericarp covered in whitish hairs. It has a chromosome count of 2n=42.[4][5]


It occurs on dry, but fertile soils at altitudes from sea level up to 1,500 m (4,900 ft). Natural hybrids with the closely related Malva alcea are occasionally found.[5]

Malva moschata illustrated Christiaan Sepp 1849

The flowers are usually pollinated by bees.[5]

Cultivation and uses[edit]

'Alba' with white flowers
Deschambault-Grondines, Quebec, Canada

Malva moschata is widely 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 in flower colour, including 'Rosea' with dark pink flowers.[6][7]

Leaves and flowers of muskmallow are common additions to "wild" salads. The seeds are also edible.

It has been introduced to and become naturalised in several areas with temperate climates away from its native range, including Scandinavia, New Zealand, and North America.[5][6][7]


  1. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  2. ^ Flora Europaea: Malva moschata
  3. ^ Med-Checklist: Malva moschata
  4. ^ a b Flora of NW Europe: Malva moschata[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ a b c d e Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. ISBN 0-340-40170-2
  6. ^ a b Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
  7. ^ a b Malva Pages: Musk Mallows (section Bismalva)

External links[edit]