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Hollyhock – Crème de Cassis


A flowering PERENNIAL, often grown as a BIENNIAL, in the mallow family, that can grow to over 2.4m in height. The plants have an erect, unbranched habit with large lobed or toothed leaf blades and very tall flower spikes bearing many attractive white and maroon centered flowers.

The plant does well in almost any well-drained soil in a full sun position, and can grow in semi-shade. Tall flower spikes may need staking.

The flowers, leaves, root and stem are edible and it has a long history of medicinal use.

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Young leaves are eaten either raw or cooked and although they have a mild flavour, they do not have the most enjoyable texture. Flower petals and flower buds are eaten raw, added to salads, or as a decoration on cakes etc. A nutritious starch is obtained from the root.

Flower petals make a refreshing tea.

Medicinal actions include antiinflammatory, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, emollient and febrifuge.

The plant has been noted to be used to alleviate chest comlaints and to improve blood circulation. The root is astringent and demulcent and applied fresh and crushed as a poultice to ulcers. A common medicine in Tibet.

Fibres from the stems can be used to make paper, and the leaves can be added to the compost as an activator.

FLowers can be used as a dye herb.

Additional information


Other Names

Latin Name

(Alcea rosea syn. Althaea rosea)