Althaea genus (Mallow). This is a genus of 6-12 species of perennial plants with palmately lobed leaves and large pale pink to white, cup-shaped flowers.
Annuals or Perennials, Deciduous, Shrubs
The name Althaea comes from the Greek 'altheo' - to cure. Some species were used as remedies.
The main use of this plant has been cosmetic and culinary, as the plant has edible flowers and leaves. The roots, stems and leaves all secret mucilage which is used to soften the skin. The roots were also used to clean Persian carpets as a gentle way to preserve the colours of the vegetable dyes. Medicinally, in ancient Egypt, the mashed root was sweetened with honey and formed into sweets to help heal sore throats.
These plants are found in sandy, marshy areas, by riverbanks and so will appreciate moist yet free-draining soil.
Beatles, caterpillars and rust may damage the plant.
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