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Musk Mallow

Gentle perfume of the musk mallow

When is a plant a weed? When is a weed a flower to enjoy? I guess it’s all about context. There are lots of flowers that we can see growing in our hedgerows and along field margins that, if transplanted to a garden, would be considered a ‘flower’.

One such plant is this lovely relative of the common mallow: Musk mallow (Malva moschata).

Photo of musk mallow flower on hedgerow
Musk mallow (Malva moschata)

It’s a common plant seen growing along field margins, verges and in hedgerows during the summer months. The flower has five pink-violet petals arranged in a shallow saucer shape. The petals have distinctive dark pink veins running through them. The leaves towards the bottom of the hairy stem are heart shaped, while those towards the top have many fine lobes. And, of course, it gives off a faint musky scent – hence its name.

Close up photo showing petals of musk mallow flower
Five petals of the musk mallow flower

It is a time of quiet joy, the sunny morning. When the glittery dew is on the mallow weeds, each leaf holds a jewel which is beautiful if not valuable. This is no time for hurry or for bustle.Thoughts are slow and deep and golden in the morning.

John Steinbeck (‘Tortilla Flat’, 1935)
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