Mallow, a family of herbs. The name is applied particularly to plants of this family belonging to the genus Malva. Mallows are common in both the Old and New Worlds. They range from 1 to 10 feet (30 cm to 3 m) in height. The flowers have five petals. The leaves may be deeply lobed, many-angled, or rounded. The leaves are used to make salads and pies; the flowers and seeds are used to prepare cough syrups.
Common mallow, a trailing biennial with purplish flowers, is often seen in American farmyards. Its flattish, wrinkled fruits are sometimes called “cheeses” because of their shape. Musk mallow is a hairy perennial of Europe, North Africa, and North America with white or mauve flowers. Wild mallow, a common roadside annual 18 inches (45 cm) high, has rough, hairy leaves and blue flowers.
Common mallow is Malva sylvestris; musk, M. moschata; wild, M. nicaeenis. The mallow family is Malvaceae.