Alcea, also known as Hollyhock, is a genus of about 60 species in the family Malvaceae, native to temperate regions of Europe and Asia. The species are annuals, biennials or perennials.
Their strong, vertical, and upright stalks rise into the sky like a spear, carrying large, showy and brightly colored flowers. The saucer-shaped, single or double flowers are so impressive it’s hard to believe they’re actually real. It’s no wonder they can add charm and impact to any garden.
The genus name “Alcea” comes from the Greek word “alkaia”, which means “mallow”.
The common name “Hollyhock” is derived from the Old English word “hoc”, meaning”mallow”.
It’s a combination of the word “holy” and the Old English word “hoc”.
Hollyhock is a symbol of fertility.
Interesting facts about Alcea:
Benefits and Uses
Through the centuries, Hollyhocks have been used in traditional herbal medicine for various medicinal purposes.
This plant is useful in the treatment of constipation, dysmenorrhoea, haemorrhage and chest complaints. It can improve blood circulation, promote urination and help relieve a dry cough. It can also be used externally as a poultice for chapped skin.
Hollyhocks are edible.
Their roots, leaves and blossoms can be added to salads or used as an edible garnish.
Hollyhock blooms in a rainbow of colors including red, purple, pink, white, yellow and even almost black.
Hollyhocks range in height from 60 cm (2 ft) to 3 metres (10 ft) tall.
Alcea prefers rich and well drained soil, with a pH between 6.0 and 8.0.