It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 50–125 cm tall, with stems covered in stellate hairs, meaning they branch at the free end into several strands. The leaves are 2–8 cm long and 2–8 cm broad, palmately lobed with five to seven blunt lobes; basal leaves on the lower stem are very shallowly lobed, those higher on the stems are deeply divided, with digitate finger-like lobes. The flowers appear singly near the apex of corymbose racemes growing from the leaf axils in summer to early fall. They are 3.5–6 cm diameter, with five sepals and five bright pink petals, and have no scent.
is a plant in the mallow family native to southwestern, central and eastern Europe and southwestern Asia, from Spain north to southern Sweden and east to Russia and Turkey It is most common in drier soils in thickets, along paths and in waste places. Natural hybrids with the closely related Malva moschata are occasionally found. In central Europe it grows at altitudes of up to 2,000 m.It has been widely grown outside of its native range as an ornamental plant. Several cultivars exist such as 'Fastigata', an upright form, and 'Alba', a white flowered form. In some areas, such as the northeastern United States, the plant has escaped from cultivation and become naturalised. It is very similar to, and often confused with Malva moschata.