Musk-mallow Malva moschata

"The rosy musk-mallow blooms where the south wind blows,    O my gypsy rose!    In the deep dark lanes where thou and I must meet;    So sweet!"- Alice E. Gillington, "The Rosy Musk-Mallow (Romany Love-Song)"


A pretty, dainty relative of the common mallow, it has become a popular cottage garden plant.

How to spot it

An erect plant with hairy stems and deeply cut, feathery leaves. The five petalled flowers are usually pale pink, but white ones may occur.

Where it grows

It favours dry places and may be found on roadside verges, in hedgerows, pastures and along the edges of fields.

Best time to see

In flower during July and August 

Cultural info

In flower language it is said to be a symbol of ‘consumed by love’, persuasion, and weakness.

How's it doing?

The musk mallow is native to southern England, but is probably introduced in northern Britain and Ireland. The distribution is stable, although it may be increasingly introduced with wild-flower seed mixtures and as garden escapes.

3 things you might not know

  • The ancient Greeks used musk mallow to decorate friends’ graves.
  • The musky scent of the flowers and leaves is enhanced when they are brought indoors
  • Musk mallow was once an ingredient in soothing cough syrups and ointments, and it was also valued as an aphrodisiac!