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Althaea Genus

Mallow

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General Needs

  • LightPart shade
  • HardinessFully hardy (min -15°C)
  • SoilWell drained, Fertile
  • Soil pH6.0 to 7.0
  • WaterMoist

Description

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.

Characteristics

Annuals or Perennials, Deciduous, Shrubs

Other common names

Marsh-mallow, Hollyhock

Origin

W. Europe

The name Althaea comes from the Greek 'altheo' - to cure. Some species were used as remedies.

Interest and use

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.

Cultivation

These plants are found in sandy, marshy areas, by riverbanks and so will appreciate moist yet free-draining soil.

Pests, diseases or disorders

Beatles, caterpillars and rust may damage the plant.

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