From Forest Floor to Fork: How to Identify, Grow & Use Musk Mallow



From the backyard in an urban landscape to the shady understory of the forest floor, wild edible plants abound. In truth, we are surrounded by food and medicine that is readily available to us – the key is becoming familiar with such plants, one by one.

Today, we’ll cover what it is, how to identify it, its edibility, and how to grow it in your garden.

What Is Musk  Mallow?

Musk mallow (Malva moschata) is an herbaceous to evergreen perennial belonging to the Malvaceae or Mallow family. It is native to Europe and Northern Africa and has naturalized in parts of North America, specifically the Pacific Northwest, the Great Lakes regions, and the Northeast down to North Carolina.

How to Identify

The basal leaves (and lower stem leaves) have more of a rounded margin, are about 2-3 inches across, and are palmately lobed, usually with 5 major lobes.

Edibility &  Preparation

The flowers, tender young leaves, and green fruits are edible on musk mallow, both raw and cooked. Some wild food authors claim that this mallow plant isn’t as good as some of the other mallows because the parts get tough sooner – specifically the older leaves.

How to Grow

The plant can grow in zones 3-8 but prefers more temperate climates for which it’s native to. It is best started from seed and sown in fall or early spring. It grows well in average, well-draining garden soil in full sun to part shade.

From the Wild to the Table

It’s truly incredible how many wild, edible plants are around us – one just needs the foraging eyes to see and the important know-how to eat them safely. But I promise you, once you start on the wild foraging path, you won’t be able to stop, and the world will be a brighter, more vibrant place because of it.

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