Erect or decumbent annual or perennial, herb, 0.05-1.2 m high. Fl. blue-purple/pink/white, Mar or Jul to Nov. Sandy & clayey soils. Disturbed areas.
Beard’s Provinces: Eremaean Province, Northern Province, South-West Province.
IBRA Regions: Avon Wheatbelt, Coolgardie, Esperance Plains, Gascoyne, Geraldton Sandplains, Jarrah Forest, Mallee, Murchison, Nullarbor, Swan Coastal Plain, Victoria Bonaparte, Warren, Yalgoo.
IBRA Subregions: Augustus, Avon Wheatbelt P1, Avon Wheatbelt P2, Eastern Goldfield, Eastern Murchison, Edel, Fitzgerald, Geraldton Hills, Northern band, Carlisle, Perth, Southern Cross, Southern Jarrah Forest, Tallering, Victoria Bonaparte P1, Warren, Western Mallee, Western Murchison.
IMCRA Regions: Abrolhos Islands, Central West Coast, Leeuwin-Naturaliste, WA South Coast.
Local Government Areas (LGAs): Albany, Bruce Rock, Busselton, Cockburn, Coolgardie, Dowerin, Dundas, Fremantle, Greater Geraldton, Irwin, Jerramungup, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Kent, Kondinin, Kulin, Lake Grace, Manjimup, Meekatharra, Melville, Mingenew, Murchison, Narembeen, Narrogin, Northampton, Perth, Ravensthorpe, Rockingham, Shark Bay, Stirling, Swan, Upper Gascoyne, Wickepin, Wiluna, Wyndham-East Kimberley, Yalgoo, Yilgarn, York.
Alternative Names. Cheeseweed, Marshmallow, Egyptian Mallow, Little Mallow.
General Biology. Growth form. Herb. Life form. Annual. Reproduction. Seed. Dispersal. Soil, water, agricultural livestock. Toxicity. Can be poisonous to mammals. Seedbank persistence. Possibly up to 100 years.
Notes. Occupies high-light habitats and tends to increase as soil fertility increases. Able to flower and set seed within 2 months of germinating. Has a long flowering period and high seed set. Has a single long taproot allowing it to survive long periods of drought. Fresh seed has high levels of innate dormancy. Germinates in spring to autumn and grows rapidly. Spring germinating plants may flower when only a few centimetres high and survive over summer to become biennial. Germination is moderately sensitive to salt stress, and is not influenced by light but is stimulated by scarification. Morphologically variable between geographical locations. Plants growing in wamer areas have longer growth periods and higher maximum plant height compared to cool regions. Acts as a host for many pests and dieases, including viruses, fungus and nematodes. Anecdotal evidence suggests it solar tracks, which could increase the annual carbon gain by as much as 25%. This may help to account for the success of this species as a weed in many locations worldwide.
Additional information. Origin. Northern Africa, Arabian Peninsula, Western Asia, Southeastern and Southwestern Europe. History of use/introduction. Ornamental, medicines, food. Similar exotic species. Malva nicaeensis. Similar native species. M. preissiana.
Suggested method of management and control. Hand remove isolated plants. Chemical control is only effective at early growth stages, it is naturally tolerant to glyphosate and difficult to control due to substantial taproot. Able to regrow after cutting or defloiation, although plants may be killed if the tap root is cut below the crown. Weed control measures carried out after flowering are unlikely to prevent viable seeds entering the soil seed bank. Read the manufacturers' labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.
Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.
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Western Australian Herbarium (1998–). FloraBase—the Western Australian Flora. Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/