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Archive for the ‘Family: Mallow’ Category

I found a second mallow! Perhaps why I am so pleased by mallows is because they are not natural to the U.S. Those that grow in the U.S. are mainly in the South and West and are cultivated or have escaped from cultivation.

Common Mallow (Rödmalva), Stockholm, Sweden

I spotted these mallows in July in Stockholm. They have notched petals, like most mallows, and they were pink-ish purple with darker purple veins. I posted last year about a very beautiful mallow, the Musk Mallow (Rosenmalva), which is larger, a lighter color pink without such dark purple veins.

Common Mallow (Rödmalva), Stockholm, Sweden

The wikipedia article about the common mallow has a list of names for this flower in other languages. The Swedish name, rödmalva, must get its name from the color (röd=red) and malva (the Latin name for the mallow family and genus).  I was interested to see that the French name is ‘Mauve’.  It turns out, the origin of the English word ‘mauve’ (definition: pale purple color) comes from the mid 19th century from the French, which literally means ‘mallow’ (and probably originates in the Latin name malva).  It is true, this flower is mauve-colored!

The seed head of this plant is edible and the mallow’s leaves are considered medicinal for a range of ailments. And did you know that the marsh mallow’s roots were used originally for the confection marshmallow? But now-a-days marshmallow is made of syrup, gelatin and other ingredients.

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It took me some time to identify these beautiful summer wildflowers because at first I thought they were a hybrid between red and white campions, which also have 5 notched petals.  It didn’t seem quite right, though, because campions have much deeper notches.  Finally, after flipping through my Collins Pocket Guide of Wild Flowers several times and double checking with my favorite Swedish flower identifier (http://linnaeus.nrm.se/flora/), I am confident that these flowers are Musk Mallows (latin name:  Malva alcea).

Musk Mallow (Rosenmalva), Stockholm, Sweden

In Swedish, the name is ‘Rosenmalva’ which means ‘rose mallow’.  They look like they should be from a cultivated garden, but these healthy, showy plants were thriving in the corner of a sandy parking lot in July and August in Stockholm.  They are grown as cultivated plants.  Apparently they are not very common in Sweden, and only grow south of Uppland, so I was quite lucky to see them.  I felt lucky to see such beautiful flowers every morning as I was about to start my day!

Musk Mallow (Rosenmalva), Stockholm, Sweden

Musk Mallow (Rosenmalva), Stockholm, Sweden

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