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late 14c., from late Old English malwe, from Latin malva "mallows," from a pre-Latin Mediterranean language. The same lost word apparently yielded Greek malakhe "mallow."
any of several flowering plants in the hibiscus, or mallow, family (Malvaceae), especially those of the genera Hibiscus and Malva. Hibiscus species include the great rose mallow (H. grandiflorus), with large white to purplish flowers; the soldier rose mallow (H. militaris), a shrub that grows to a height of 2 metres (6 feet); and the common, or swamp, rose mallow (H. moscheutos).