30 Wild Days: day 17 – musk mallow

I found this lovely flower in another of the wild flowers patches on campus (the grounds are looking amazing at the moment). I had no idea what it was or whether it was native.
Luckily I have an ecologist for a brother who told me it was musk mallow, and was indeed indigenous to Britain.

So I’ve had to do more research for this one then usual, but for such a little plant it’s certainly got some intriguing characteristics.

It was used as a medicine to treat coughs and colds, and to relieve sores and ulcers by rubbing the area with water that had been boiled with the plant.

Apparently, mallow is associated with Beltaine, and was used for garlands and May Day decorations as well as some simple love divination. It was even said to be able to call back ex lovers who had left.

Mallows in general were also thought of as protective plants, and used in exorcisms, and to ward off spirits.

Interestingly, I’ve also seen it’s still popular in certain circles as an ingredient of love potions – the Beltaine magic lives on!

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