Species At Risk

Virginia Mallow

(Sida hermaphrodita )


Virginia Mallow
Virginia Mallow occurrences map


Virginia Mallow is a perennial flowering herb that can reach one to three metres in height. The flowers are made up of five white petals (about 8 millimetres long) that grow in a clustered formation. They bloom in late summer until the first frost in the fall, which may make the species valuable to apiculturists (beekeepers). The leaves resemble stretched maple leaves and grow in an alternate pattern along the hairy stem. The appearance of hairs along the stem diminishes with age.


Virginia Mallow is found from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi and Atlantic watersheds. In Ontario, it is found in only two sites, in Haldimand County, and the Niagara Region.


Virginia Mallow grows in riparian habitats that are flooded in most years. It benefits from this moist environment and is usually found in sunny or partly shaded areas with sandy soils. Loose sandy or rocky soils of scoured riversides and floodplains, and disturbed areas along roadsides and railroad banks are its preferred habitats.


Habitat destruction is the leading cause of decline for Virginia Mallow throughout its range. In southwestern Ontario, the species is likely limited by site disturbance such as mowing and pipeline maintenance. Invasive wetland species that substantially alter wetland habitats, such as Common Reed and Purple Loosestrife, are also threats to the species.


Virginia Mallow and its habitat are protected under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act.

What You Can Do to Help Virginia Mallow

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources tracks species at risk such as Virginia Mallow. You can use a handy online form to report your sightings to the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Photographs with specific locations or mapping coordinates are always helpful. nhic.mnr.gov.on.ca
  • Report any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).
  • Private land owners have a very important role to play in species at risk recovery. You may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats.
  • Volunteer with your local nature club or provincial park to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk.
  • As with many other rare plants and animals, Virginia Mallow is at risk due to habitat destruction. You can help by protecting any wetlands and surrounding natural vegetation on your property.
  • Harmful alien organisms whose introduction or spread threatens the environment, the economy, or society are called “invasive species”. These invaders seriously threaten many of Ontario’s species at risk. To learn what you can do to help reduce the threat of invasive species, visit: www.invadingspecies.com ; www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca and, www.invasivespecies.gc.ca. .
  • The Carolinian forests of southern Ontario support an amazing diversity of plants and wildlife, including many species at risk. Carolinian Canada is working to help recover species at risk and their habitats. For more information, visit: www.carolinian.org/SpeciesHabitats.htm.

Did you know?

In Poland and Russia, Virginia Mallow is cultivated and used as biomass for creating energy and heat.

Did you know?

Virginia Mallow stems have unusually high concentrations of cellulose, resins and wax which could make it valuable to the paper industry if it was cultured.

Did you know?

Research suggests that cultivated Virginia Mallow may be useful in waste facilities as it can uptake cobalt, iron and nickel from the soil.

Did you know?

A large Virginia Mallow plant can produce several thousand seeds.

The Endangered Species Act

Contact your local ministry office

Often the best source of local information on species at risk is your nearest ministry office. Call with your questions or concerns.