Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Common mallow

2014-06-19 16.48.251. In Romania we eat the seeds of mallow [Mitcham Common, Surrey, July 2024].

2. When staying with a French family near La Rochelle in 1975, I was allergic to the family cat and had very itchy eyes as a result.  Madame picked common mallow flowers and boiled them in a pan of water.  I bathed my eyes with the liquid and it very quickly cured the problem [e-mail, May 2020].

3. An old lady in Cricieth, Caernarfon, tells me that mallow leaves, when she was a youngster over 60 years ago, were used as a remedy if one suffered from toothache. The leaf would be pressed on the area of the mouth where pain seemed to be at its worse [Caernarfon, Gwynedd, August 1995].

4. We … call mallow fruits cheeses in Holland, because we eat them, and they look like little dutch cheeses [Natural History Museum, London, August 1993].

5. Having lived in the country all my life (I am now in my 89th year) … As children we ate the seed-heads of the wild mallow, but I didn’t care much for them. We called them bread-and-cheese as well [Maulden, Bedfordshire, April 1993].

0216. [Cornwall] When we were young my mother always … bathed our eyes with the liquid from boiled leaves of the mallow if we had any eye complaints [Alicante, Spain, November 1991].

7. Malva sylvestris – large colony around farmyard at Llanfaredd, Radnor, said by owner to have been used as a leaf poultice to cure sprains of horses’ legs [Llandrindod Wells, Powys, September 1991].

Images:  main, Flanders Field Community Garden, East Ham, London Borough of Newham, July 2014; upper inset, Crewkerne, Somerset, June 2014; lower inset,  Bosham, West Sussex, April 2015.