Malva moschata is a perennial herb 0.4-1 m tall, from a taproot, stems erect, rough-hairy, stipules present.
Leaves alternate, stalk 2-7 cm long, blade 3-6 cm long, round, deeply 5-7 pinnately parted, lobes often lobed again, margin toothed, notched; Overwinters as a rosette of rounded, entire leaves with toothed margins.
Flowers pink, white, to pale purple; 4 cm wide, radially symmetrical, petals 5 fused at base, triangular, 2-3.5 cm long, toothed along top edge, notched; calyx 5-parted, lobes 0.5-0.8 cm long, larger in fruit, above 3 small bracts (epicalyx); stamens 8-15, fused into a central column ovary and styles; styles 8-15, each 1 cm long, fused for 1 cm at base; ovary superior, 8-15 parted, each segment 1-seeded; inflorescence mostly terminal clusters, each flower long-stalked (Hinsley 2004).
Fruit dry, 0.8-1 cm wide, a flattened ring of rounded segments, each 1-seeded, separating at maturity, densely hairy (Radford et al. 1968); fruits June-Sept.
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Habitat: Open areas. Escaped garden plant. Notes: young leaves apparently edible raw (Fern 2004).