Malva rotundifolia Linn. Malvaceae. Mallow.
Europe and neighboring Asia. In Egypt, especially upon the banks of the Nile, the mallow is extensively cultivated and is used as a potherb by the natives. This plant reached northeast America before 1669 and it is mentioned by Josselyn. It is now naturalized in waste places and in cultivated grounds. The mallow was formerly among the culinary herbs but is used now only in infusion or decoction in medicine on account of its mucilaginous properties. Unger says Pythagoras thought much of this plant as a spinach and among the Greeks, as well as among the Romans, it was at one time much esteemed. Mallow and Asphodell were raised at Delos for the temple of Apollo, as a symbol of the first nourishment of man. It was known to Camerarius, 1588, and was known only to Dodonaeus, 1616, as a cultivated plant. At the present day, the young shoots are used as a salad in southern France and Italy.
Malva sylvestris Linn. Cheeses. High Mallow. Marsh Mallow.
Europe and temperate Asia. This mallow is sometimes cultivated in our gardens and, on account of its mucilaginous properties, finds use as a demulcent in medicine. It is a native of Europe and has become naturalized in this country. Johnson says the foliage, when boiled, forms a very wholesome vegetable, and the flat seeds are eaten by country people.
Malva verticillata Linn. Curled Mallow.
Europe, Asia and northern Africa. This plant is used in China as a vegetable.