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aromatherapy herb uses

mauve

If you were wondering what exactly the color mauve looks like, this is it. We know that because this is the flower that gave the color its name: mauve des bois, French mallow.

The flower has many names, the oddest of which is cheeseweed, a name inspired by the tightly packed seed heads that look like miniature cheese wheels. All the parts of the plant are edible, and this is fortunate, considering how prolific mallow is at producing offspring. Its little cheeses can populate a flowerbed in one season, so if you have the patience, you’re better off picking and serving them as a snack, they have a pleasant nutty taste. This is easier said than done, because they hold on to the mother plant with a mighty grip right until the point when they disintegrate and spread far and wide all over the ground underneath.

Some ethnic cuisines use mallow leaves extensively, either cooked or raw, in the same manner in which cabbage or grape leaves are used, even though mallow becomes mucilaginous, like okra, when exposed to heat, not the most palatable quality.

Mallow is unrelenting, I only planted it once and I’m still plucking it out of the lawn seven years later. It is pretty enough and has the distinct advantage of blooming at the end of summer, just when the other perennials are wrapping up for the season. This is why I don’t mind its sprawling habit and look the other way when one of its eager sprouts asserts itself in the middle of the just cleared flower bed in spring.

The plants are biennials but if the first summer is long enough, they’ll bloom at the end of it. This is what mine are doing, a good thing, because I didn’t notice any of them overwintering.

Believe me, those little cheeses mean business, you can’t get in front of their prolific propagation habit and more than enough seeds will escape your scrutiny to ensure progeny the following year. It is, after all, considered a weed.

In my garden the best performers are mallows, goldenrods and bee balms, all of which can be considered weeds, depending on the gardening sensibility, I just have to wonder what that says about me.

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