Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris)
This plant is classified as undesirable in the context of Bepton Down SSSI as it requires rich soils on which to establish itself. The presence of such plants signifies that the chalk downland soil is becoming enriched and therefore beginning to loose the characteristics which are needed for specific plants to thrive in.
This drought-tolerant, perennial plant, favours open rich soils on field margins. It will also colonise wasteland, railway embankments and other brown field sites. It will grow up 1m and will climb or sprawl. It will flower from late May until early September. The flowers are produced on stems bearing dark green, palmate, 5 lobed leaves which are crinkly when newly emerged. The 5 petalled flowers vary in shades of lilac but are sometimes white.