Althaea officinalis

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Althaea officinalis L.

Malvaceae

Life form: perennial
Usage: economic plant

Exposure: sun   3

Moisture: moist

Soil: sandy loam - Soil: gritty loam

Arrangement: alternate
Leaves: decidious

Shape: palmately lobed

Division: simple

Shape: cup-shaped
Fruit: schizocarp

VII

75D / cfb0e0 

Inflorescence: solitary

Petals: single
Habit: not specified

Growth form: erect

Taxonomy

Divisio:
Magnoliophyta
Subdivisio:
Magnoliophytina
Classis:
Rosopsida
Subclassis:
Dilleniidae
Superordo:
Malvanae
Ordo:
Malvales

Althaea officinalis is a perennial.

Naming

Althaea officinalis was described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. The name is considered as validly published.

Taxonomy

Althaea officinalis is a species in the genus Althaea which contains approximately 18 to 61 species and belongs to the family of the Malvaceae (Mallow Family).

Characteristics

Althaea officinalis - habitus
Althaea officinalis - flowers
Althaea officinalis - branches
Althaea officinalis - roots

Growth

The comparatively long-lived perennials have an upright growth and reach heights of 1,8 to 2 metres. The plants reach a width of 0.3 to 1 metres.

Leaves

Althaea officinalis is deciduous. The light-green, simple leaves are alternate. They are palmately lobed, dentate and petiolate.

Flowers and Fruits

Althaea officinalis produces solitary light-purple cup-shaped flowers in July.

The perennials produce schizocarps.

Root System

Distribution

Althaea officinalis is native to the whole of Europe, Turkey, Syria, Palestine, the Caucasus, Iran, Afghanistan, West-Siberia, East Siberia, Central Asia, Algeria and Tunesia and is naturalized in North America.

Cultivation

The perennials prefer a sunny situation on moist soil. The substrate should be sandy-loamy or gritty-loamy soil with a pH between 8 and 10. They tolerate temperatures down to -40°C (USDA zone 3).

Classification after Prof. Dr. Sieber

  • banks
  • open areas

Uses

The ornamental value of Althaea officinalis lies especially in its fragrance. The recommended planting distance is 90 centimetres, the perennials are best planted in groups of 3 to 5. Suited for cottage gardens, as well as suited as bee pasture.

Maintenance and Propagation

The plants need little to no maintenance if grown under suitable conditions.

  • Cut back in autumn.

Propagate by sowing.

Cultivars

Pests and Diseases

Literature

  • Walter Erhardt, Erich Götz, Nils Bödeker, Siegmund Seybold: Der große Zander. Eugen Ulmer KG, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8001-5406-7. (Ger.)
  • Christoper Brickell (Editor-in-chief): RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. Third edition. Dorling Kindersley, London 2003, ISBN 0-7513-3738-2.

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