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Hollyhocks: Althaea officinalis

Botanical name: Althaea officinalis

Common name: Marshmallow

also known as (Common Marshmallow)

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Planted
1
time

Sprite
created by:
chief cultivator

Mercer island, Wa

at a glance

Soil: damp, alkaline, sand
Sun:
  
  
Zones: 3a thru 9b
Care:
average
Lifespan:
biennial
Category:   
Attributes:

butterfly attracting, hummingbird attracting, bee attracting

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description for "Hollyhocks: Althaea officinalis"

The meaning of the name, Marshmallow, goes different directions. First is the preference of the plant for marshy, wet soils. Second is the use of the plant roots for giving the mucilaginous effect to marshmallows before gelatin came about. Tall, erect plants with heart-shaped, downy leaves flower in late summer with pink flowers clustered in the leaf axils. Ring-shaped seed pods form after flowering with a ring of seed called "cheeses". Related to the hollyhock, this makes an excellent background plant for the perennial garden. The nutty seeds, flowers, and young leaves can be added to salads. Recorded medicinal use dates back to the 9th century BC. Most commonly used today in the cosmetic industry for weather damaged skin. Its mucilaginous properties also soothe the stomach, intestines, and throat.

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