Common Mallow

Common Mallow
Common Mallow. Malva neglecta.
Malvaceae, the mallow family.

Plant: Low, creeping, to 2' long, with round leaves and small white to pinkish flowers on short stems in leaf axils.
Flowers: Small, 1/2"-3/4", white, pink or lavender with darker stripes, petals notched. Many stamens united in a column about the style. Sepals short, hairy.
Leaves: Alternate, simple, 1"-1.5", generally round in shape with scalloped and toothed edges, palmate veination, sometimes palmately lobed.
Fruit: Small flattened wheel composed of segments that separate at maturity.
Blooming: May-October
Habitat: Lawns, disturbed areas.

Comments: This is one of two creeping mallows often found in lawns. The low mallow, M. rotundifolia is very similar, but has flowers only about 1/4" across. The round fruits resemble tiny wheels of cheese, giving another common name, "cheeses". Children in some areas nibble these fruits without apparent harm, and the young leaves can be cooked up as a somewhat mucilaginous potherb should one have the patience to gather enough for a meal.

Where to find it: In the lawn areas near the parking lot.