The Malva Pages:
Annual Mallows

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Malva aegyptia L.
Malva cretica Cav.
Malva hispanica L.
Malva trifida Cav.

In addition to the weedy annual species of section Malva there are 4 annual species of Malva. Three of these (Mm. hispanica, aegyptia and trifida) are distinguished by the epicalyx being composed of 2 bracteoles.

Malva hispanica is relatively isolated; it is not close to the other bibracteolate mallows. The remaining three species are related on the one hand to the annual marshmallows (Althaea section Hirsutae, and to ×Malvalthaea transcaucasia), and on the other hand to the musk mallows (Malva section Bismalva sensu strictu).

Malva hispanica L.
 malva lustrada, malva blanca, malvilla
 malva hispànica

Malva hispanica is found in Iberia, Algeria and Morocco [1].

Malva hispanica is an erect single or multi-stemed annual growing up to 2½ feet in height, with pale pink flowers. The basal leaves are about 1" across, semicircular in outline, crenate, serrate or slightly lobed, and borne on long stalks. The upper leaves are sub-rhomboid in shape, and borne on shorter stalks. The bracteoles are lanceolate and shorter than the sepals. The sepals are triangular in outline with acuminate apices. The petals are about 1" long, with emarginate apices. The mericarps are smooth, with a rounded dorsal face.

Synonyms of Malva hispanica include Malva cuneifolia Cav. and Malva spithamea Cav...

Malva aegyptia L.
 malvilla de hoja de geranio
 malva egipcia

Malva aegyptia has a discontinous distribution in the Mediterranean region and south west Asia, being found in northwest Africa, small areas in Spain, Cyprus, Crete and some other localities in Greece, coastal Eygpt, northern Sinai, Palestine, some localities in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Mesopotamia, eastern Saudi Arabia, and east of the southern Capsian Sea.

It is an erect or decumbent, strigose, annual reaching 1 foot in height. The leaves are suborbicular in outline, and deeply dissected into narrow segments. The flowers are borne mostly in terminal clusters. They have 2, or less commonly 3, linear bracteoles. The sepals are 7-11 mm. long, broadly triangular-ovate, and somewhat acuminate. The petals are about equal in length to the sepals, and lilac in colour. The mericarps are usually glabrous, with the lateral faces conspicuously ridged, and the dorsal face flat with tranverse ridges.

Synonyms of Malva aegyptia include Axolopha aegyptia Alef., Dinacrusa aegyptia (L.) G.Krebs, Malva aegyptia ssp. leiocarpa Iljin, Malva aegyptiaca , Malva armeniaca Iljin, Malva diphylla Moench., Malva effimbriata Iljin, Malva elegantifolia Iljin, Malva iljinii I.Riedl, Malva latisecta Iljin, Malva leiocarpa (Iljin) Iljin, Malva mediterranea Iljin and Malva pichleri Iljin..

Malva trifida Cav.

Malva trifida is endemic to Spain, where it is found in Almeria, Murcia and Alicante, in Navarre, Aragon and northern Catalonia, and in the east of Castile-La Mancha.

It is closely related to Malva aegyptia, from which is can be distinguished by the petals between twice as long as the sepals, and the mericarps being densely pubescent.

It is a rough-stemmed, single or multi-stemmed annual. The leaves are roughly orbicular, the lower ones being 3-lobed with slightly emarginate apices to the lobes, and the upper ones palmately dissected in 3 to 5 lobes, the lobes being deeply dissected into broad, linear, segments. The petals are lilac, twice as long as the sepals, and possess bearded claws. The mericarps are densely pubescent, and the lateral faces less strongly ridged than in Malva aegyptia.

Synonyms of Malva trifida include Dinacrusa aegyptia ssp. stipulacea (Cav.) G.Krebs, Malva stipulacea auct. non Cav, Malva tournefortiana Asso and Malva trifida var. latifolia Willk...

Malva cretica L.
 Mediterranean Mallow
 malva crètica
 Malva cretese
 Hobbejza tat-toroq

Malva cretica is found in Cyprus, the mid-Ionian Sea coastal regions of Turkey, Crete, southern Greece, Malta, Sicily, southern and central Italy, Corsica, Sardinia, Tarragona and Castellon in eastern Spain, and eastern and northern Andulucia in southern Spain.

It is an erect, hispid, annual, growing to 1½ feet in height. The lower leaves are suborbicular, and crenate or slightly lobed; the upper leaves deeply palmately divided into 3 to 5 oblong, toothed, lobes. The flowers are borne on the axils of the leaves, on long pedicels. In Spain (subspecies althaeoides) the pedicels have simple hairs only, and the petals are pale pink and twice as long as the sepals; in the east of the range (and Corsica and Sardinia?) (subspecies cretica) the pedicels have stellate as well as simple hairs, and the petals are bluish-lilac to pink, and only 1-1½ times as long as the sepals; intermediate plants are found in southern Italy and Malta. The mericarps are glabrous, with a flat dorsal face, with numerous small transverse ridges, and with the angles between the lateral and dorsal faces slightly winged.

Synonyms of Malva cretica include Althaea hirsuta Sieber, Axolopha althaeoides Alef. and Dinacrusa cretica (Cav.) G.Krebs.Synonyms of Malva cretica ssp. althaeoides include Malva althaeoides Cav. and Malva anodaeformis Lag..


  1. The Darwin Checklist of Moroccan Vascular Plants: Malva
  2. Baker, Synopsis of Genera and Species of Malveæ, Journal of Botany Vol. XXVIII (1890)


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