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Malva moschata


Malva moschata, the musk mallow or musk-mallow<ref name=BSBI07>Template:Cite web</ref>, is a species of flowering plant in the family Malvaceae, native to Europe and southwestern Asia, from Spain north to the British Isles and Poland, and east to southern Russia and Turkey.<ref name=fe>Flora Europaea: Malva moschata</ref><ref name=mc>Med-Checklist: Malva moschata</ref><ref name=fnwe>Flora of NW Europe: Malva moschataTemplate:Dead link</ref><ref name=blamey>Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. Template:ISBN</ref> Growing to Template:Convert tall, it is a herbaceous perennial with hairy stems and foliage, and pink saucer-shaped flowers in summer.



The leaves are alternate, 2–8 cm long and 2–8 cm broad, palmately lobed with five to seven lobes; basal leaves on the lower stem are very shallowly lobed, those higher on the stems are deeply divided, with narrow, acuminate lobes. The flowers are produced in clusters in the leaf axils, each flower 3.2–5 cm diameter, with five bright pink petals with a truncated to notched apex; they have a distinctive musky odour. The fruit is a disc-shaped schizocarp 3–6 mm diameter, containing 10–16 seeds, the seeds individually enclosed in a mericarp covered in whitish hairs. It has a chromosome count of 2n=42.<ref name=fnwe/><ref name=blamey/>


It occurs on dry, but fertile soils at altitudes from sea level up to Template:Convert. Natural hybrids with the closely related Malva alcea are occasionally found.<ref name=blamey/>

The flowers are usually pollinated by bees.<ref name=blamey/>

Cultivation and uses

'Alba' with white flowers

Malva moschata is widely grown as an ornamental plant for its attractive scented flowers, produced for a long period through the summer. Several cultivars have been selected for variation in flower colour, including 'Rosea' with dark pink flowers.<ref name=rhs>Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan Template:ISBN.</ref><ref name=mp>Malva Pages: Musk Mallows (section Bismalva)</ref> The cultivar 'Alba' (white flowered) has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Leaves and flowers of muskmallow are common additions to "wild" salads. The seeds are also edible.

It has been introduced to and become naturalised in several areas with temperate climates away from its native range, including Scandinavia, New Zealand, and North America.<ref name=blamey/><ref name=rhs/><ref name=mp/>



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