This herbaceous perennial grows to a height of up to 90 centimetres. The stem is woody towards the base, branched and hairy. The lower leaves are kidney-shaped or rounded, while the upper ones are palmate, deeply divided into three to seven irregularly notched lobes. The flowers are rose-purple with darker stripes and grow in clusters from April to September. The five petals, which are 2 to 3 centimetres long, do not overlap.
The mallow grows along roadsides, on wasteground, in meadows and cultivated fields, and sometimes on coastal rocks or sand dunes. It originates from southern Europe and Asia but has spread throughout the world as a common weed.