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Althaea officinalis

Marsh mallow

Garden

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Features

  • BloomsJuly to September
  • Height1.1m to 2.5m
  • Spread1m to 1.5m
  • Growth HabitStalked clump
  • Flower ColourPinkish purple white
  • Leaf ColourMedium green

Description

Althaea officinalis (Marsh mallow). This is an upright perennial, growing to 2.5 metres, with soft 3-5 shallowly lobed leaves. The flowers are produced from mid-summer to the early autumn bearing very pale purple-pink blooms with darker purple centres.

Characteristics

Perennial, Deciduous, Shrub

Origin

S.E. Europe & Britain

Interest and use

Grown as a marginal water plant, but can also be grown in the border.

In traditional herbal medicine, the root of this plant used in tinctures for dry coughs and sore throats and as a tea for stomach ulcers and indigestion.

The extract made from the mallow root (halawa extract) is occasionally used as flavouring in the Middle Eastern snack 'halva'.

The marsh mallow sweet originates from an old French confection: 'pâte de guimauve', which involved adding sugar and egg whites to the jelly-like mucus of the roots and leaves. However, the modern 'marsh mallow' no longer contains mallow extract.

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Needs

  • LightPart shade
  • HardinessFully hardy (min -15°C)
  • SoilHeavy, Light, Medium, Rich
  • Soil pH6.0 to 7.0
  • WaterMoist

Cultivation

This species will produce many types of soils, but they will prefer fertile, moist, well-drained soil.

Propagation

By seed in mid summer.

Pests, diseases or disorders

Rust, flea beetles.

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