Common Mallow is an attractive species that has been used throughout history in food and medicine. In traditional folk medicine, common mallow was often used for making medicinal poultices and soothing ointments. It was also harvested as a nutritious wild edible. It is used in Trill Farm’s popular Summer Tea. Mallow can be found in cultivated land, grassland, roadsides, scrub and wasteland and is ideally harvested in March, April, July, August, September.

Botanical Description: Purplish, pink flowers adorn a coarse, hairy stem with lobed, crinkly leaves that resemble ivy. The plant grows up to 40-120 cm. The seeds appear as edible flat discs.

Parts Used For Food: Leaves, flowers, roots and seed or ‘nutlets’. The seeds may be poisonous if eaten in large quantities.

Food Uses: Common mallow yields disc-shaped seeds, or ‘nutlets’, that are edible and snacked on like ‘cheeses’. The leaves can be cooked and eaten like spinach, added to thicken soups, or deep-fried like green wafers. The flowers and buds can be pickled.

Traditional Medicine Uses: Common mallow was once a ‘cure all’ of Medieval herbal medicine. It was used to treat many conditions from stomach ache to problems during childbirth. In Britain and Ireland, the plant has been used as a laxative, to cleanse the liver, to cure blood poisoning, and to treat urinary problems, rheumatism, heartburn, coughs and cuts. The mucilaginous roots in particular were used to make poultices and soothing ointments.

If you would like to learn more about foraging, come and join Robin Harford on a series of seasonally focussed foraging walks through the landscape of Trill Farm. On your foraging walk, you will be shown how to identify a variety of wild edible plants, as well as learn the different plant stories, their nutritional values, their folklore, mystery and history. Find out more on our website.

Robin is a plant-based forager, ethnobotanical researcher, and wild food educator. He has been teaching people about their local edible landscape since 2008.