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There is something about flowers and how we humans tend to associate them with beauty and affection. There is an instant warmth associated with flowers, no matter how bright or delicate, or fragrant full they are. But has it occurred to you that there is a story behind all those flowers, beyond what our eyes can comprehend? Ever wondered where they come from? How did they get their name? When shall I give these flowers to someone? What would it mean if I gave them these flowers? If you are curious about these questions then you would like this story about a beautiful, eye-catching flower family.

What are mallow flowers and where do they come from?

This is the story of a very common yet unique family of flowers commonly known as mallow flowers. Hailing from the family of Malvaceae, these are the flowering plants of the Hibiscus or Malva genera commonly found in a wide range of natural colors from purple to white.

The name mallow has an Old English ancestry to it and its first use can be dated before the 12th century. It originated from the Old English word “mealwe”. This can again be traced back to the Latin word “Malva” and the Ancient Greek word “malakhe” which is believed to be an ancient Mediterranean term for soft. The elegant and feminine appearance of the flower can be why the mallow flower is now synonymous with soft and mellow. There are a wide variety of species under this beautiful flowering family and are now spread across the globe but have an origin from Asia, Africa, and Native America. They are perennial and commonly found in temperate, subtropical, or tropical regions. 

What does the mallow flower symbolize?

Even though mallow flowers are extremely common in nature, many of us might not recognize the flower by the name “mallow” due to the many types of mallow flowers available. Some easily recognizable other names for mallow flowers would be common mallow, hibiscus, or even hollyhock. No matter what species these beautiful flowers belong to, one thing that binds them all together is that they symbolize health, love, and protection. Due to their natural color in the romantic hues, it is no wonder that they are a representation of delicate yet strong beauty. Hibiscus flowers in particular are symbolism of feminine beauty.

The mallow flowers were especially popular during the Victorian era when the gifting of the flowers was gifted when one wanted to acknowledge the delicate beauty of the receiver. Their innate herbal properties make them very useful in medicine and are often considered as the guardian of the house by some cultures. In China, these flowers represent personal glory. 

What are the different types of mallow flowers?

It is very easy to recognize a flower from the mallow family. They would commonly have five separated petals that look like a low hanging funnel with distinct-looking stamens that beautify the pistol of the flowers. Even though there are many species under the mallow flower family, here are some of the most commonly used and famous ones.

Malva Sylvestris 

These are the most common flowers found in the mallow family. Commonly known as tall mallow, these flowers are also known by the names High Mallow, Common Mallow and are found in Asia, Northern Africa, and North America. These flowers are found in a pink and purple color that darkens in the veins of the petal. With a fast-growing rate and height up to 0.5 meters, these flowers are commonly found in places that do not require heavy maintenance, like wastelands, parks, harbors, etc. The fact that these flowers are self-fertile and blossoms continuously throughout the year makes them a perfect addition to your garden. 

Malva Sylvestris Mystic Merlin

As the name suggests, these mystic beauties are a slight variation of the regular Malva Sylvestris family. They are a bright purple and it grows to an attractive 2 inches (5.08 cm) size. The plants are perennial and have a bushy look to them, which makes them perfect as a garden flower or to beautify your cottages. They require proper maintenance and grow well in the region which receives good sunlight. These beauties often flower between June and September. Due to their elegant appearance, they are often referred to as French Hollyhock.

Malva Sylvestris Zebrina

Another variation of the Malva Sylvestris family is the Malva Zabrina. Like the others in the mallow flower family, they have a five-petal orientation with soft rose petals which are adorned by deep purple veins. They are also one of the few mellow flowers which appear to have double colors in their petals, making them a favorite of the gardeners and florists. They grow up to 2-4 feet (121.92 cm) high under healthy garden conditions and are easily self-generated with the help of bees and other insects. The full sun helps them grow and blossom throughout the years. Also called Zebra Mallows due to their striped color structure, these mellow flowers are not prone to droughts and can be a great add-on to your wildflower garden or meadow.

Malva Moschata

Also known as musk mallow, these musk-scented soft pink mallow flowers with heart-shaped leaves are part of the perennial flowering parts of the mallow family and usually take a long time to flower.. They are commonly used for fragrance or as part of show flowers as they require some attention for their best growth. Commonly found in Europe and North Africa their common ancestors can be traced back to the United Kingdom. Unlike most others in the mellow flower family, Malva Moschata cannot survive in extreme conditions and require average water for their survival. Their petals grow up to 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) in diameter and attract a lot of butterflies.

Malva Moschata Alba

Malva Moschata Alba, also known as the white musk mallow is a variety of the Malva Moschata family. While the Malva Moschata has soft pink petals, Malva Moschata Alba steals the show with their pure snow-white petals and bushy stem. The plants thrive well when they have a lot of sunlight. The plants are also used in salads and seasoning due to their edible nature. Like the Malva Moschata, these plants also have a long flowering period and usually blooms around June to September. These amazing flowers were also the recipient of the Award of Grand Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Malva Verticillata

Originated in China, this variety of mellow flowers are also called Chinese Mallow, Tropical Hibiscus, Shoe Flower, etc. Commonly found in red or pink color, they are very bright and have yellow stamens around the pistol. With bright green leaves, these flowers are commonly found in regions with high nitrogen-concentrated soil. They flower well under full sunlight and do not require heavy maintenance. Their flowering season mainly falls during summer. Malva Verticillata flowers are also used in great quantities in medicine and herbal treatments. 

What do the different colors of mallow flowers mean?

Colors have a language of their own when it comes to flowers. Different colors represent different feelings, emotions, and messages. It is necessary to understand what it means before gifting it to someone or even growing at home. Mellow flowers are commonly available in white, pink, purple, yellow, and red colors and each of the flowers conveys different messages. So, here are the meanings of mellow flowers in different colors.

White Mallow Flower Meaning

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White represents purity, reverence, innocence, and utter admiration. Mallow flowers, normally, represent beauty, delicateness, and love. As a combination of them both, white mallow is a representation of female energy, beauty, and purity. It is a perfect way for you to show boundless affection or pure admiration to someone you know.

Pink Mallow Flower Meaning

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Pink mallow flowers are absolute favorites of the florists as they make a great gift when you want to show your love to someone. Pink is a gentle color and it represents an array of long-lasting love. It need not be the love you feel for your partner, but also the love that shows “I will be there for you”. It is a perfect way to show your emotions to your friends or family.

Purple Mallow Flower Meaning

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The color purple is indicative of royalty or wealth due to the rarity of the color in the olden days. Similarly, a purple color denotes great privilege or shows royalty. It can also represent knowledge or greatness in some cultures. With purple mallow flowers, you are representing greatness and extreme admiration towards someone. It is a way of showing how special or unique someone is.

Yellow Mallow Flower Meaning

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Yellow is the color of the sunshine and everything beautiful. A bright and energetic color, yellow has the power to light up a room and make everyone notice. It is the one color you can without a doubt send to anyone as it represents friendship and optimism. Yellow mallow flowers send a message that you wish happiness and joy in the receiver’s life.

Red Mallow Flower Meaning

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Red has always been related to love, passion, and intense attraction. Even though red is often associated with romantic love, it is also representative of admiration and respect. Red mallow flowers represent love, passion, and respect. It is a way of showing someone how much you care about them and respect them. 

What makes the mallow flowers so special?

Every flower is special in its own way. But there is something about mallow flowers that has attracted many throughout the decade. Even though many new flowers have come in, the variety and beauty of this wildflower are still appreciated by many. From the wide range of colors to their medicinal properties, here are some characteristics of the mallow flower that makes it special.


Mallow flower is naturally available in romantic hues from red to white. Apart from the Chinese mallow, which has a bright red and yellow color, all others have a subdued appearance. This makes them more elegant and soothing. Their 5-petal funnel-like shape, dark green leaves, and ability to easily blend with other flowers makes them a favorite for cottage gardens and walls. 

Ease of Maintenance

Unlike many flowers that require proper pruning and seeding, most of the mallow flowers are self-seeding. As they are of the wildflower family, they can survive on their own with minimal care and flowers continuously throughout the years. 


Apart from cotton, all other plants in the Mallow family are non-poisonous. They can withstand normal conditions without much trouble and do not attract pests normally.


Mallow plants and flowers were used as part of the food habits in the Ancient Mediterranean culture. Even today, the leaves and flowers are edible and used for pickles and salads in different parts of the globe. Marshmallows, a variety of the mallow flower family is a common food item across the world.

Herbal Use

One of the most important characteristics of mallow flowers is their medicinal property. From using to soothe common aches and pains, they are also used in shampoos and conditioners to smoothen the hair and make them silkier. 

What is the best time to gift someone mallow flowers?

Now that you have a comprehensive idea about the story of mallow flowers, the next best thing you would need to know is when can one gift mallow flowers. The fact is mallow flowers can be gifted on any occasion. The meaning of mallow flowers that represent beauty, love, and protection is something that can be translated to any occasion.

  • You can include a red mallow flower bouquet when you are celebrating Valentine’s Day as a fresh gift
  • You can gift a bunch of roses to your mom to show how much you value her on Mother’s Day
  • You can even send a white rose bouquet to your boss to show him how much you respect whatever he has done for the office

In short, once you know the language of mallow flowers, you can curate your own mallow flower bouquets. Flowers would always have a special place in our minds. Flowers like mallow which have so much history and characteristics remind us why they are so special.