Other common names

Mallow, little mallow, cheeseweed, buttonweed

Scientific name

Malva neglecta

Family

Malvaceae

Description

Mallow grows in a rounded, bushy or spreading plant with tough stems and a deep taproot.

Growing common mallow

Typical plant growing in a lawn. Photo by S. Donaldson.

Leaves

Hairy geranium‐shaped leaves attach to the stem with a petiole (stalk). Leaves have 5 to 7 shallow lobes with round teeth and veins that radiate out from the base.

Flowers

Small (about 2/5 of an inch in diameter), white to pale pink or lavender‐striped and not very noticeable. Flowers have 5 petals with crinkly edges. Blooms from summer to fall.

Common mallow flower

The flower is small and has five petals. Photo by S. Donaldson.

Fruit

Looks like a miniature cheese wheel with wedge-shaped sections.

Common mallow fruit

The fruit looks like a wrapped wheel of cheese. Photo by S. Donaldson.

Roots

Grows a large, tough taproot.

Common mallow taproot

The young plant has a well-developed taproot. Photo by S. Donaldson.

Native to

Europe

Where it grows

Lawns, gardens, parks, roadsides, pastures and other disturbed or unmanaged sites

Life cycle

Winter annual (sprouts in the fall to early winter) to short‐lived perennial (grows back each year from the roots)

Reproduction

Reproduces by seed

Common Mallow seedling

The second set of seedling leaves have the characteristic geranium shape. Photo by W. Hanson Mazet.

Control methods

Common mallow is best controlled when young. Mature plants are difficult to remove mechanically due to the large taproot.

Mechanical

Dig, hoe or pull young plants. Plants that are mowed or break off at the crown will regrow. The tough taproot makes pulling mature plants difficult, if not impossible.

Cultural

Thick mulches can help prevent seed germination. Plant desirable vegetation that will shade the area and reduce germination and growth of young plants. Keep turf healthy and vigorous to compete with the weed.

Biological

None commercially available. Mallow may concentrate nitrates to levels that can be toxic to cattle.

Chemical

Try broadleaf‐selective herbicides on very young plants. Pre‐emergence herbicides can be used to manage existing seed banks. Glyphosate is generally not effective on this plant.

References

  • DiTomaso, J.M. and E.A. Healy. 2007. Weeds of California and Other Western States. University of California Publication 3488.
  • Whitson, Tom D. (editor). 2002. Weeds of the West. University of Wyoming, Jackson, Wyoming.
  • Wilen, A. 2007. Mallows. UC Davis ANR Publication #74127, IPM.
  • Wilen, C.A. 2009. Common Mallow. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, University of Georgia, Bugwood Wiki.
Donaldson, S. and Hanson Mazet, W. 2010, A Northern Nevada Homeowner’s Guide to Identifying and Managing Common Mallow, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-10-21

Learn more about the author(s)

 

Also of Interest:

 
purslane
Desert Gardening in Southern Nevada, Blog Posts 21-01
The Master Gardener Volunteers of Southern Nevada provides horticultural information on gardens, landscapes, plants and other related topics. This blog post is one of many resources of information available to the public to help accomplish this mission.
Deever, D. 2021, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno
Nevada’s Priority Agricultural Weeds: Russian Knapweed
Russian knapweed (Acroptilon repens) is a non-native perennial forb (wild flower) that arrived in the United States in the late 1890s. This weed is well adapted, growing in damp to poorly drained soils with high salinity and/or alkalinity.
B. Schultz, S. Foster 2021, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, SP-21-02
bindweed flowers
Field Bindweed - An Attractive Nuisance, and Worse
A pretty plant may still be a weed, and field bindweed is a clear example. This attractive relation of morning glory can invade a landscape, interfering with the growth of desired plants both above and below ground. This fact sheet gives information on avoiding and treating field...
O'Callaghan, A. and Robinson, M. L. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, FS-20-33
Austrian fieldcress plant
Nevada Noxious Weed Field Guide – Austrian fieldcress
Austrian fieldcress is a non-native plant that disrupts native vegetation because they have no natural controls and are able to adapt to varied conditions.
Blecker, L., Creech, E., Dick, J., Gephart, S., Hefner, M., Kratsch, H., Moe, A., Schultz, B. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Field Guide
Barbed goatgrass
Nevada Noxious Weed Field Guide – Barbed goatgrass
Barbed goatgrass is a noxious weed that has been identified by the state of Nevada to be harmful to agriculture, the general public, or the environment. Learn more about this weed.
Blecker, L., Creech, E., Dick, J., Gephart, S., Hefner, M., Kratsch, H., Moe, A., Schultz, B. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Field Guide
 

Associated Programs

Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training cb

Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training

The Weed Warriors program tackles the growing problem of weeds on public and private land.