Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

QUERY: Local names of musk mallow

Posted on by royvickery |

2014-06-23 14.13.30Musk mallow (Malva moschata) with its conspicuous pink flowers and attractive deeply cut leaves is widespread throughout the British Isles, but is rarely abundant in any one place. Thus it might be expected to have a large number of local names, but in fact only three alternative names have been recorded. Two these – jagged mallow and vervain mallow – appear to be ‘book’ names which probably never strayed far from the printed page. The third, buttons, recorded from Somerset, could be a misidentification; perhaps common mallow (Malva sylvestris) was intended. One wonders how widely the name musk mallow was used by country dwellers who had no great interest in plants; perhaps they simply referred to it as ‘that pretty pink flower’.
Any local names for musk mallow, or any comments, would be appreciated.
[adapted from R. Vickery, Garlands, Conkers & Mother-die, 2010: 108].

Comment:  In September 2023 members of Wild Flowers of Britain & Ireland Facebook were asked if any of them knew of any local names for musk mallow; no one did.

Image: Wandle Meadow Nature Park, London Borough of Merton; June 2014.

Updated 12 September 2023.

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