One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A mallow; specifically a plant of the dicotyledonous genus Malva, of the family Malvaceae, the members of which are found chiefly in Europe and temperate Asia and are characterized by having an epicalyx of three bracts enclosing the calyx and one-seeded nutlets arranged in a flat whorl round a central axis. Also (in form Malva): the genus itself.
Early 16th century; earliest use found in Laurence Andrewe (fl. c1520–1530), printer and translator. From classical Latin malva mallow. Derivatives exist in most W. European languages, e.g. mallow, maul, maw, French mauve, German Malve, Welsh malw.
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