Malva neglecta is an annual or biennial herb, from a taproot, prostrate or reclining, to 1 m long, branched from base, stems densely hairy; Seedling leaves heart-shaped, 0.5-0.7 cm long, 0.3-0.4 cm wide (Hagood 2007); stipules 0.5 cm long, 0.3 cm wide.
Leaves alternate, stalks 5-20 cm long, blade 2-6 cm long and wide, kidney-shaped to round, 5-9 shallow lobes, hairy on both sides, base lobed, major veins palmate, margin toothed.
Flowers white-pinkish, 5 petals 0.6-1.2 cm long, heart-shaped, notched at top, narrow at base, about twice as long as calyx lobes, fused to stamen column at bases, calyx fused at base, 5-lobed, lobes 0.2-0.3 cm long, triangular, tips pointed, subtended by (above) three small, linear bracts, 0.3-0.4 cm long; ovary superior, ring-shaped, of 13 sections (carpels); styles 13, linear, fused at base, from center of stamen column; inflorescence of 1-4 flowers in leaf axils (Radford et al. 1968); self-fertile (autogamous) but visited by several species of bees (Mulligan and Kevan 1973); blooms and fruits May-Oct.
Fruit dry, round, flattened, 0.5-0.7 cm wide, with central depression, of 8-15 1-seeded segments, in a ring of chambers around center like wedges of cheese, surrounded by elongated calyx and bracts (Levine 1995; Yatskievych 2006).
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Infrequent.
Habitat: Open areas, roadsides, gardens, lawns. Can sometimes form large mats (Yatskievych 2006).