Tree-mallow at Porthmeor Beach by The Island in St Ives

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These plants really are big. It’s not just their height, Tree-mallow can grow to 3 metres, but their stems are woody and more like trunks. The leaves are large (up to 20cm across) and quite hairy and tough-looking and, what with pink flowers as well, these plants intend to get noticed!

We’ve seen them all over the coastline of Cornwall but often they look rather tatty and dishevelled unlike these fine specimens overlooking sandy Porthmeor Beach in St Ives last weekend.

Insight into Tree-mallow (Malva arborea formerly Lavatera arborea): native on the west coast of the British Isles from north Wales to the Isle of Wight, it isn’t a tree at all but a member of the Mallows family, Malvaceae. It used to be thought a member of the Lavatera family and was given the latin name Lavatera arborea but it has now been placed in the Mallows and it’s latin name changed accordingly.

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