Sometimes a plant blows into your yard and you think, “Oh, what a sweet little plant. Maybe I’ll just let it grow up a bit to see what it is.” A month later, you’ve been taken over by the Rose Malva Mallow Flop.
So, we have cheese weed, a common mallow, growing all over the yard and it has its uses but, holy cow, is it invasive! It has a deep, deep taproot and reseeds itself all over the place. What happened with that baby plant that I left to grow up until I could see if I like it? Well, turns out it was Malva, a kind of mallow with lovely pink flowers. However, it too has a deep taproot and reseeds itself all over the place. I’ve been pulling this thing out of my herb garden for two years now. I feed it to the goats as all parts of mallow are edible but they don’t seem to like it very much and its the one thing the chickens wont eat out of the barnyard. Hence, I have it everywhere. The bees sure do love the flowers, though, and here’s a neat tidbit – you can put up the seeds (that look like cheese wheels) as a caper substitute if you ever have a caper emergency – here’s a post on how to make regular capers, just substitute cheese weed seeds for capers. This is actually really cool because the caper vine doesn’t grow in my zone and I do like to use them sometimes and I don’t like to pay for them. Here’s a good post by Common Sense Homesteading that tells you more about the uses of mallow. Still and all, I wish I wasn’t quite so blessed with this useful, edible WEED.
Just a note, rose hibiscus or Hibiscus moscheutos is often referred to as “rose mallow”, because the flowers of both hibiscus and mallow look similar – if you squint your eyes a bit. Hibiscus is not a mallow but it does belongs to the Malvaceae family, just like mallow does.