To celebrate our new friend Malva, we want to talk a bit about Tree Mallow (Lavatera/Malva arborea). While many of you are familiar with the myriad benefits of its cousin Marshmallow (Althea officinalis), our volunteer plant may be a bit more mysterious.
Tree Mallow is a lovely biennial, native to the Mediterranean, that grows well in climates similar to our Humboldt coast. Like it’s other Malvaceae relatives, this plant features large, palmate leaves that are veined and grow alternately on the plant. Blossoming usually takes place in late summer and produces the beautiful pink – purple flowers typical of Malvaceae. The young leaves of the tree mallow are edible both raw and cooked and are said to improve kidney function.* The older leaves can be used topically as a poultices on strains, sprains and to ease tired, achy feet.
So come on down and visit Marvelous Malva who is growing so beautifully just outside our door! If you haven’t seen our little Malva-based giveaway, you can find the details here on our Instagram.
Tomorrow we will be celebrating Green and Gold Day with Cal Poly Humboldt here on the plaza, so drop on by if the spirit moves you! Just a heads up that the Plaza will be closed off to all vehicular traffic all day and into the evening.