WSU Extension


Weeds : Mallow, common (Cheeseweed, Buttonweed) : Malva neglecta
(revision date: 4/7/2021)

Family: Malvaceae
Cycle: Various
Plant Type: Broadleaf

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful weed management.

Common mallow can be an annual, winter annual, or biennial plant. The plants are spreading from a deep root, with branches reaching from a few inches to almost two feet long. Leaves are alternate on the stems and have long, slender petioles. The leaves are nearly circular in outline, with a deeply-notched base and five to seven rounded lobes. They are palmately veined, with the veins originating at the petiole and radiating outward. The flowers are borne either singly or in clusters in the leaf axils. Each blossom has five white or pinkish petals with notched tips. The petals are about twice the length of the sepals (the green, leaflike structures which enclose the bud). Seeds are borne in smooth, round, flattened, button-like fruits which break into single-seeded segments at maturity. A related species, little mallow (Malva parviflora), is similar, but the flower petals are shorter and the fruit is wrinkled instead of smooth.
Common mallow is a weed of waste places, gardens, and cultivated areas. It is occasionally a problem in new lawns.

Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Cultivation (rototilling or hoeing) will effectively eliminate plants.
  • Careful digging is useful to manage weed populations. However, digging can carry undesirable weed seed to the surface and foster further germination.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Apply according to label directions. Glyphosate products should be applied as spot treatments only! NOTE: Some ingredients listed here are only available in combination. Read the label carefully on combination products to make sure the product is suitable for your specific situation.

Landscape areas
  • glyphosate
  • products containing triclopyr
Turf areas
  • triclopyr
  • 2,4-D + MCPP + dicamba
Bare ground areas
  • glyphosate
  • triclopyr
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Caption: Common mallow flower and fruit
Photo by: R. Parker
Caption: Common mallow leaf
Photo by: D.G. Swan
Caption: Common mallow flower
Photo by: R. Parker
Caption: Line drawing of common mallow
Photo by: Ciba Geigy
Caption: Mallow flower
Photo by: T.W. Miller
Caption: Mallow fruit exposed
Photo by: T.W. Miller
Caption: Mallow fruit in calyx
Photo by: T.W. Miller
Caption: Mallow leaves
Photo by: T.W. Miller