Sida cordifolia | ‘Bala’, ‘Country Mallow’, ‘Heart-leaf Sida’, ‘Ilima’, ‘Malva Blanca’ | 25 seeds
Sida cordifolia is a softly hairy perennial subshrub of the Malvaceae family. Commonly known as ‘Bala’, ‘Country Mallow’, ‘Country Sida’, ‘Flannel Weed’, ‘Heart-leaf Sida’, ‘Ilima’ or ‘Malva Blanca’, the species is originally native to India, although is now naturalised to several other continents, including Africa, Australasia and North America.
Often considered to be an invasive weed due to its ability to quickly takeover its local habitat (it’s especially good at contaminating hay), cordifolia grows to between roughly fifty centimetres to two metres tall. The plant’s foliage is coloured green-yellow and is finely covered with soft white hairs (giving rise to its informal name, ‘Flannel Weed’). Cordifolia‘s stems are long and thin, while its oval-ish, heart-shaped (the inspiration for the species name, cordifolia) grow to approximately seven and a half centimetres long by six centimetres wide. Yellow-orange flowers bloom between late spring and early autumn (dependent on the growing location) and are fairly attractive to bees, birds and butterflies.
Ethnobotanically, Sida cordifolia is used for several purposes in Indian Ayurvedic medicine (where it is known as ‘Bala’), as well as in Brazilian folk medicine (where it is known as ‘Malva Blanca’) and in indigenous practice in parts of Africa. Ailments traditionally treated using the plant include blennorrhea, inflammation of the oral mucosa, stomatitis and respiratory problems (such as asthma, asthmatic bronchitis and nasal congestion). The species has consequently been investigated scientifically as an anti-inflammatory, for encouraging liver tissue re-growth, for its effects on the central nervous system and the heart and for preventing cell proliferation.
It’s quite easy to grow Sida cordifolia from seed indoors or outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 8-11. Place this drought-tolerant species somewhere in full sun to partial shade, leaving at least a metre or two between each plant (so that they have enough room to reach maturity). Mallow fan? Check out our ‘Marsh-mallow’ seeds too!
All the seed sold by Arkham’s Botanical was freshly and ethically sourced