Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Malva pusilla
(round-leaved mallow)

Toolbox

Datasheet

Malva pusilla (round-leaved mallow)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 06 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Malva pusilla
  • Preferred Common Name
  • round-leaved mallow
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • M. pusilla is a cosmopolitan weed found principally in temperate regions of the world (Randall, 2012). It is a fas...

  • There are no pictures available for this datasheet

    If you can supply pictures for this datasheet please contact:

    Compendia
    CAB International
    Wallingford
    Oxfordshire
    OX10 8DE
    UK
    compend@cabi.org
  • Distribution map More information

Don't need the entire report?

Generate a print friendly version containing only the sections you need.

Generate report

Pictures

Top of page
PictureTitleCaptionCopyright

Identity

Top of page

Preferred Scientific Name

  • Malva pusilla Sm.

Preferred Common Name

  • round-leaved mallow

Other Scientific Names

  • Malva lignescens Iljin
  • Malva rotundifolia L.

International Common Names

  • English: dwarf mallow; low mallow; small mallow
  • Spanish: malva; malvilla
  • French: mauve a petites feuilles; mauve fluette
  • Chinese: yuan ye jin kui

Local Common Names

  • Czech Republic: sléz nizounky; slez nizu
  • Denmark: liden katost
  • Estonia: maralehine kassinaeris
  • Germany: Kleinblutige malve
  • Haiti: malaguette; mauve a feuilles rondes
  • Norway: Dvergkattost
  • Poland: slaz drobnokwiatowy
  • Sweden: vit kattost

Summary of Invasiveness

Top of page

M. pusilla is a cosmopolitan weed found principally in temperate regions of the world (Randall, 2012). It is a fast-growing, annual or perennial herb with the capacity to grow forming dense patches in gardens, yards, roadsides, waste ground, orchards, pastures and agricultural fields (Makowski and Morrison, 1989; DAISIE, 2014). M. pusilla is listed as invasive in Canada, the United States, and the Dominican Republic and in many countries in Europe (see distribution table for details; Kairo et al., 2003; DAISIE, 2014; USDA-NRCS, 2014). 

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Malvales
  •                         Family: Malvaceae
  •                             Genus: Malva
  •                                 Species: Malva pusilla

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page

Malvaceae is a large family of flowering plants containing about 243 genera and 4225 species of herbs, shrubs, and trees (Stevens, 2012). This family is largely tropical, but representatives can also occur in subtropical and temperate regions of the world (Stevens, 2012). The genus Malva includes about 35-40 species, most of them growing in disturbed situations and some of which have become cosmopolitan weeds (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014). 

Description

Top of page

M. pusilla is a perennial and annual herb, usually procumbent, many branched, 20-50 cm tall, scabrous. Stipule small, ovate-lanceolate, 4-6 × 2-3 mm; petiole 3-12 cm, stellate velutinous; leaf blade reniform, rarely 5-7-lobed, 1-3 × 1-4 cm, papery, abaxially sparsely stellate puberulent, adaxially sparsely velutinous, base cordate, margin minutely denticulate, apex rounded. Flowers usually 3-4-fascicled, axillary, rarely solitary on stem. Pedicel 2-5 cm, sparsely stellate puberulent. Epicalyx lobes lanceolate, 2-5 × 1-1.5 mm, stellate puberulent. Calyx campanulate, 5-6 mm, stellate puberulent, 5-lobed, lobes triangularly acuminate. Corolla white to pinkish, 10-12 mm in diameter; petals obcordate, 9-15 × 3-5 mm, apex notched; claw bearded. Filament tube stellate puberulent. Style branches 13-15. Fruit flat globose, 5-6 mm in diameter; mericarps 12-15, abaxially smooth, angles rounded, puberulent. Seeds reniform, approximately 1 mm in diameter, reticulate or not (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014). 

Plant Type

Top of page Annual
Herbaceous
Perennial
Seed propagated

Distribution

Top of page

M. pusilla is native to temperate Asia including Western and Middle Asia, Turkey, and the Caucasian region (USDA-ARS, 2014). It is naturalized and growing as a weed in China, Europe, North America (i.e., Canada and United States) and Hispaniola in the West Indies (DAISIE, 2014; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; USDA-NRCS, 2014). 

Distribution Table

Top of page

The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

AfghanistanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014
ArmeniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014
AzerbaijanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014
ChinaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AnhuiPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Naturalised
-GansuPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Naturalised
-GuizhouPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Naturalised
-HebeiPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Naturalised
-HenanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Naturalised
-JiangsuPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Naturalised
-ShaanxiPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Naturalised
-ShandongPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Naturalised
-ShanxiPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Naturalised
-SichuanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Naturalised
-TibetPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Naturalised
-XinjiangPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Naturalised
-YunnanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Naturalised
Georgia (Republic of)PresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014
IranPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014
IraqPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014
KazakhstanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014
KyrgyzstanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014
TajikistanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014
TurkeyPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014

Africa

South AfricaPresentIntroducedRussell et al., 1987

North America

CanadaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AlbertaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-British ColumbiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-ManitobaPresentIntroduced Invasive Makowski and Morrison, 1989
-New BrunswickPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-Nova ScotiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-OntarioPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-Prince Edward IslandPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-QuebecPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-SaskatchewanPresentIntroduced Invasive Makowski and Morrison, 1989
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-CaliforniaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-IllinoisPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-IndianaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-IowaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-KansasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-MarylandPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-MassachusettsPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-MichiganPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-MinnesotaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-MissouriPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-NebraskaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-New MexicoPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-North DakotaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-OhioPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-OklahomaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-PennsylvaniaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-South DakotaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-TennesseePresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-TexasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-VirginiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-WisconsinPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed
-WyomingPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014Weed

Central America and Caribbean

Dominican RepublicPresentIntroduced Invasive Kairo et al., 2003
HaitiPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012

South America

EcuadorPresentIntroducedJorgensen and Leon-Yanez, 1999

Europe

AustriaPresentUSDA-ARS, 2014
BelarusPresentUSDA-ARS, 2014Casual alien
BelgiumPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2014
Bosnia-HercegovinaPresentUSDA-ARS, 2014
BulgariaPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2014
CroatiaPresentUSDA-ARS, 2014
Czech RepublicPresentIntroduced Invasive
DenmarkPresentIntroduced Invasive DAISIE, 2014
EstoniaPresentUSDA-ARS, 2014
FinlandPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2014
FrancePresentIntroduced Invasive DAISIE, 2014
GermanyPresentIntroduced Invasive DAISIE, 2014
GreecePresentUSDA-ARS, 2014
HungaryPresentUSDA-ARS, 2014
IrelandPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2014
ItalyPresentUSDA-ARS, 2014
LatviaPresentUSDA-ARS, 2014
LithuaniaPresentUSDA-ARS, 2014
MoldovaPresentUSDA-ARS, 2014
MontenegroPresentUSDA-ARS, 2014
NetherlandsPresentUSDA-ARS, 2014
NorwayPresentIntroduced Invasive DAISIE, 2014
PolandPresentUSDA-ARS, 2014
PortugalPresentUSDA-ARS, 2014
-AzoresPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2014Casual alien
RomaniaPresentUSDA-ARS, 2014
Russian FederationPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Eastern SiberiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014
-Western SiberiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014
SerbiaPresentUSDA-ARS, 2014
SlovakiaPresentUSDA-ARS, 2014
SloveniaPresentUSDA-ARS, 2014
SwedenPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2014
UKPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2014
-Channel IslandsPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2014Casual alien
UkrainePresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2014

History of Introduction and Spread

Top of page

The history of introduction of M. pusilla is uncertain. It is highly probable that this species has been moved from Asia and introduced accidentally into Europe and North America as a seed contaminant or as a weed in nursery materials (Makowski and Morrison, 1989; DAISIE, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014). For example, it is a regular alien known in Belgium since 1872. In the USA, M. pusilla was introduced relatively early, and was first reported in 1818. It was listed as common in the State of New York in the 1870s and in Rhode Island in 1892 (Makowski and Morrison, 1989). By the 1980s it was listed as one of the worst weeds of gardens in the United States (Steffey, 1980). In Canada, it was reported in 1821, and since at least the 1970s it has been considered a common weed (Makowski and Morrison, 1989). 

Risk of Introduction

Top of page

The risk of introduction of M. pusilla is moderate to high. Because this species is a common weed in ruderal areas, agriculture and pasture lands it has a high potential to be introduced as a crop seed contaminant, attached to agricultural machinery or associated with human activities. 

Habitat

Top of page

M. pusilla is a cosmopolitan weed, very common in disturbed areas, yards, gardens, and waste places, in field crops especially under moist conditions, and in pastures, grassy slopes and roadsides in temperate Asia, Europe and North America (Makowski and Morrison, 1989; DAISIE, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014; USDA-NRCS, 2014). 

Habitat List

Top of page
CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial-managed
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Natural
Protected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production) Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Protected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production) Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page

M. pusilla is a weed of field crops including wheat, lentil, and flax, and in orchards and pasture lands principally in the United States and Canada (Steffey, 1980; Makowski and Morrison, 1989). 

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

Top of page

Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage

Biology and Ecology

Top of page

Genetics

The chromosome number reported for M. pusilla is 2n=42 (Lövkvist and Hultgård, 1999).

Reproductive Biology and Phenology

In North America and China, flowering and fruiting occur from June until December (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014). Seedlings emerge all summer and well into the autumn (Makowski and Morrison, 1989).

Longevity

M. pusilla has the potential to grow as a perennial or annual herb (Steffey, 1980).        

Environmental Requirements

M. pusilla has been reported growing on well-drained nutrient-rich soils as well as on clay and medium textured dark soils. It is tolerant to cold, retaining the capacity for photosynthesis and respiration after long periods of exposure to subfreezing and frosts in late autumn (Makowski and Morrison, 1989). 

Climate

Top of page
ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
Ds - Continental climate with dry summer Tolerated Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)

Air Temperature

Top of page
Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -15
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 20..5
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) -3.8

Soil Tolerances

Top of page

Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page

M. pusilla spreads by seeds. Seeds can be dispersed by wind, water or as contaminants in crop seeds, pasture seeds and in agricultural machinery (Makowski and Morrison, 1989; DAISIE, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014).

Pathway Causes

Top of page
CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Crop productionCrop seed contaminant Yes Yes Makowski and Morrison, 1989
Garden waste disposalGarden weed Yes Yes Makowski and Morrison, 1989
Medicinal useMedicinal herb Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2014

Pathway Vectors

Top of page
VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Debris and waste associated with human activitiesGarden and agricultural weed Yes Yes Makowski and Morrison, 1989
Machinery and equipmentSeed contaminant Yes Yes Makowski and Morrison, 1989
Soil, sand and gravelSeed contaminant Yes Yes Makowski and Morrison, 1989

Impact Summary

Top of page
CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihood Negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative

Economic Impact

Top of page

M. pusilla is a common weed in gardens, yards and agricultural fields and it is considered hard to control and eradicate because of its long and tough taproots. Among cultivated crops, this species can be very competitive and it can spread very quickly, completely outcompeting cultivated species (Makowski and Morrison, 1989; DAISIE, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Fast growing
Impact outcomes
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts forestry
  • Reduced amenity values
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
  • Hybridization
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field

Uses

Top of page

M. pusilla has medicinal uses. The leaves are used as a soothing agent to relieve minor pain and membrane inflammation, and to treat inflammation of the digestive and urinary systems. The seeds are used in the treatment of coughs, bronchitis, ulcers, and haemorrhoids (PFAF, 2014).

Uses List

Top of page

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page

In Canada, M. pusilla is frequently confused with M. neglecta and occasionally with M. parviflora. A key for identification is given by Makowski and Morrison (1989).

Prevention and Control

Top of page

M. pusilla is difficult to control, except in early seedling stages, because of its tolerance to many common herbicides once it is established (Makowski and Morrison, 1989). For greatest efficacy, herbicides must be applied at the 1–6 leaf stage. Applications at later growth stages may result in temporary knock down, but normal growth resumes. Cultivation can kill M. pusilla if the taproot is severed below the crown (Hildbrand et al., 2013).

M. pusilla was the target of Canada's first registered bioherbicide, a conidial preparation of Colletotrichum gloeosporioides [Glomerella cingulata] f.sp. malvae. A review of the biological control programme is given by Hildebrand et al. (2013).

References

Top of page

Acevedo-Rodríguez P; Strong MT, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, 98:1192 pp. Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

DAISIE, 2014. Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe. European Invasive Alien Species Gateway. www.europe-aliens.org/default.do

Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014. Flora of China. St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2

Gibbs Russell GE; Welman WG; Reitief E; Immelman KL; Germishuizen G; Pienaar BJ; Wyk Mvan; Nicholas A, 1987. List of species of southern African plants. Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa, 2(1 & 2):1-152 & 1-270.

Hildebrand PD; Konoff C; Jensen KIN, 2013. Malva pusilla Smith, round-leaved mallow (Malvaceae). In: Biological control programmes in Canada 2001-2012 [ed. by Mason, P. G.\Gillespie, D. R.]. Wallingford, UK: CABI, 367-370. http://www.cabi.org/cabebooks/ebook/20133355785

Jørgensen PM; León-Yànez S, 1999. Catalogue of the vascular plants of Ecuador. Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard, 75. i-viii, 1-1182.

Kairo M; Ali B; Cheesman O; Haysom K; Murphy S, 2003. Invasive species threats in the Caribbean region. Report to the Nature Conservancy. Curepe, Trinidad and Tobago: CAB International, 132 pp. http://www.issg.org/database/species/reference_files/Kairo%20et%20al,%202003.pdf

Lövkvist B; Hultgard UM, 1999. Chromosome numbers in south Swedish vascular plants. Opera Botanica, 137:1-42.

Makowski RMD; Morrison IN, 1989. The biology of Canadian weeds. 91. Malva pusilla Sm. (= M. rotundifolia L.). Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 69(2):861-879.

PFAF, 2014. Plants for a future. http://www.pfaf.org

Randall RP, 2012. A Global Compendium of Weeds. Perth, Australia: Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, 1124 pp. http://www.cabi.org/isc/FullTextPDF/2013/20133109119.pdf

Steffey J, 1980. The mallow family (Malvaceae). American Horticulturist, 59:7-8.

Stevens PF, 2012. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APweb/

USDA-ARS, 2014. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysearch.aspx

USDA-NRCS, 2014. The PLANTS Database. Baton Rouge, USA: National Plant Data Center. http://plants.usda.gov/

Contributors

Top of page

27/06/14 Original text by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

Pedro Acevedo-Rodríguez, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

Distribution Maps

Top of page
You can pan and zoom the map
Save map