Althaea officinalis L.

Fully hardy summer flowering perennial with pale rose to lilac-pink flowers, like a shorter growing Hollyhock.  To 2m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

An important medicinal plant in the past, mainly used in salves and poultices for its soothing properties. Also used in sweetmeats, particularly the well known Marshmallow.  [Don].  ‘Marshmallow.  Althaea bismalva.  Ibiscus.  The stalks grow to a yard high; the leaves are of a yellowish green colour; the flowers are a pale red.  It grows in salt marshes and flowers in July.  The plant is mollifying, digesting and soupling, of great use in the stranguary, gravel, stone, heat of urine, corroding humours in the stomach and guts, cough, hoarsness, swellings and inflammations.  Official preparations are, the Syrupus of Althaea, Pulv. Dialthae & Unguentium Dialthae.’  [Blackwell pl.90/1737].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [H.5/1843].  Possibly imported as much for its medicinal and culinary value as for its beauty as an ornamental plant.


Published Feb 01, 2009 - 03:11 PM | Last updated Jul 27, 2010 - 04:38 PM

The image shows leaves and pink flowers and the medicinally-important root.  Blackwell pl.90, 1737.

Althaea officinalis L. | Blackwell pl.90/1737 | BHL

More details about Althaea officinalis L.
Family Malvaceae
Region of origin


Common Name

Marsh Mallow

Name in the Camden Park Record

Althaea officinalis 

Confidence level high