Prickly malvastrum

Prickly malvastrum

Malvastrum coromandelianum

Common Name:

Prickly malvastrum

Scientific Name:

Malvastrum coromandelianum

Alternative common names:

Spiked Malvastrum, three-lobed false mallow, false mallow, broom weed or clock plant.


Prickly malvastrumis an upright so-woody or sub-shrub plant. The main stem is straight and hairy. The leaves are alternate, simple, elongated, slightly hairy at 4 points associated in pairs, and strongly toothed. The flowers are solitary or in small groups in terminal position or at the base of the leaves.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

Tropical America.

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA Category 1b.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and Gauteng Provinces.

How does it spread?

It spreads by seeds, often carried by animals.

Why is it a problem?

It is a frequent companion weed dominant in sugarcane. It can sometimes form small patches of a few square meters within the fields, but it occurs most often in the form of numerous but scattered individuals.

What does it look like?

Leaves: Green, ovate to narrow, about 2 cm long. It's strongly serrated along the margins.

Flowers: Yellow. There are five distinct petals and five sepals. Numerous stamens arise from a fleshy column derived from the fused filaments.

Fruit/seeds: The fruits are dry, flattened, hairy and disc-shaped parting from 10 to 12 wedges. Each one has a great spine to the top and two small on the sides.

Does the plant have any uses?

It is used as a medicinal plant.

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