Synonyms for Hollyhock: Garden hollyhock
Scientific Name: Alcea rosea L.
Family: Malvaceae (mallow family)
The hollyhock is a favourite with all who love cottage gardens. Its long, strong spikes, or spires, can reach a height of three metres – so the hollyhock can chat to the sunflower face to face. The three- to seven-lobed leaves and the stem of this perennial plant are furry with stellate hairs. Its large – up to 10 centimetres in diameter – funnel-shaped flowers grow as loose ears and brighten the garden from late summer and into the autumn in colder climes, while in warmer regions the hollyhock is in bloom from early spring onwards. Its buds open progressively from the bottom to the top of the stem. Many cultivated varieties are available, with colours varying from blackish-purple to pink, yellow and white, and single or double flowers. From every bloom projects a white, pentagonal tube-like structure. This is made up of fused stamens which surround the pistil, the female reproductive organ. The nearby pollen-covered anthers, the male part of the flower, give the stamen column a soft, fluffy appearance. Bumblebees love these bountiful flowers, whose petals are often covered with traces of pollen that look like snow. The fruit, which is somewhat similar in shape to a flattened pumpkin or a discus, contains up to 40 seed portions.