Malva arborea (L.) Webb & Berthel.

Hist. Nat. Iles Canaries 3 (2,1): 30 (1836) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Erect perennial to c. 3.5 m high. Leaves shallowly palmately 5–7-lobed, 2–20 cm long and wide, broadly cordate at base, margins crenate, surfaces sparsely hispid to subvelutinous with stellate (sometimes also forked or simple) hairs. Epicalyx-lobes broadly ovate, 5–10 mm long at anthesis, rounded to obtuse, enlarging to 15 mm or more and spreading in fruit; calyx c. half as long as epicalyx, the lobes incurved and largely concealing fruit; petals 12–22 mm long, magenta to purple with darker veins and often darker near base. Fruit c. 1 cm diam., mericarps c. 7, reticulate or transversely ridged, glabrous, adjacent margins acute to slightly winged. Flowers Sep.–Jan.

*CVU, *GipP, *Gold, *OtP, *VVP, *WaP. Also naturalised WA, SA, NSW, Tas. Occurs chiefly near the coast, occasionally appearing as a garden weed in Melbourne suburbs.

Malva arborea poses a threat to the rare native M. preissiana across its range, through hybridisation and competition (Conran et. al. 2012). In Victoria hybrids have been collected from Mud Islands.

Source: Walsh, N.G. (1996). Lavatera. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne (as Lavatera arborea L.).
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2021-02-04
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Rosanae
order Malvales
family Malvaceae
genus Malva
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Malva arborea in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Malva arborea in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
Warrnambool Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales