I bought a bunch of cilantro today. Some of these leaves were mixed in with the cilantro. What are they? Are they edible?

three green leaves, each 3/4 of a circle with serrated edges

  • If you crush a leaf, does it smell of anything? Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 14:14
  • Where did you buy it? I'd be more worried about something I got from a vendor on the side of the road than from a well established market.
    – barbecue
    Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 14:27
  • 1
    You can try plantNet for plant identification
    – C4stor
    Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 15:54
  • 1
    Came in a bundle of cilantro, you say? Could well be it's just more cilantro. There is some variation in the shapes of the leaves. Does it smell like cilantro? Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 16:55
  • When posting such images, it helps to keep a coin or other familiar object nearby so that we get an estimate of the size of the object.
    – Nav
    Commented Nov 4, 2020 at 9:39

3 Answers 3


This also looks like Centella asiatica or Indian pennywort, which is used as a culinary vegetable and as a medicinal herb.


Don't consume unknown plants for safety reasons, not even ones identified by a random stranger on the internet!

It is very difficult to identify plants based just on leaves alone, generally for a certain identification you need stems, flowers and/or seeds to be absolutely certain

Having said that:

These look very much like young Mallow leaves (Malva from the Malvaceae), which is a genus of widespread plants found in temperate to tropical areas. Many species are considered weeds and are common in disturbed soils in urban areas.

The things that make me think it is mallow are the kidney-shaped leaves, with indented teeth and a dark spot where the petiole meets the blade

Most of the species of Mallow are edible, with a pleasant sweet taste to them. Some of the species are common garden flowers - usually a pretty pink or sometimes white.

  • Now I'm worried about the cilantro too, actually ... I think I got all these non-cilantro leaves out, but what if I've missed some, and these are actually something not advisable to eat? Should I just toss the entire bunch and get a different bunch from a different store? Cilantro is cheap but I hate wasting food ....
    – verbose
    Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 1:18
  • 1
    @verbose nothing is 100% safe. Maybe give the cilantro one more careful look, but I wouldn't worry about it beyond that.
    – Kat
    Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 5:23
  • 1
    Isn't the Mallow how the marshmallow got its name? Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 16:12
  • 2
    @MarkRansom, same family, but different genus and species. Marshmallows were once made from marsh-mallows, Althaea officinalis. The plants commonly called mallows are members of the Marva genus. This important plant family, Malvaceae, also includes hibiscus, cotton, linden, cacao, kola, and okra.
    – Juhasz
    Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 16:35

It depends on what type of cilantro you bought. If you bought confetti cilantro, the leaves would look much more thin, and have a touch of lime taste to it. If you did buy confetti cilantro, I’d recommend throwing out the odd leaves, because they wouldn’t mistake a plant that different. If you bought leaf cilantro, which looks very similar to the one in the picture, try smelling it to make sure it smells like cilantro.

  • I have to remove parts of this post because it gives very dangerous advice - the edibility of plants can not be determined by rubbing them on the skin or lips. Plus, the community already agreed that the leaves in the picture are not cilantro.
    – Stephie
    Commented Nov 4, 2020 at 8:30
  • leaf cilantro, but those leaves look nothing like cilantro leaves
    – verbose
    Commented Nov 4, 2020 at 8:47
  • Sorry about that. I meant that rubbing them on lips and skin were to determine whether it was poisonous or not. My guess was that it was cilantro, but I should’ve re read the earlier posts before concluding that. Don’t listen to me, I don’t know much about anything. ☹️ Commented Nov 4, 2020 at 12:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.