Photos of Alcea rosea, Hollyhock, Alcea rosea var. sinensis, shu ku, 蜀葵.

Alcea rosea, Hollyhock is a member of the mallow family, Malvaceae, that is commonly grown as a garden annual or short-lived perennial throughout the world. It originated in Turkey then traveled east and west at an early date, now found in temperate climates throughout the world, either cultivated or growing spontaneously. Like its close relative marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) the plant is high in mucilagin and the young leaves are cooked and eaten or used as a soup base. The flowers petals have also been eaten raw or cooked. Widely used as a folk medicine, with flowers and leaves made into tea for coughs, or roots or leaves applied externally to treat inflammation. Best known as an ornamental.

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