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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This introduced plant is a biennial or short-lived perennial about 4-8' tall. The stout central stem is unbranched or sparingly branched; it is light green, terete, and more or less hairy. The blades of the alternate leaves are up to 8" long and across; they are palmately lobed (with 3-7 blunt lobes each) and crenate along their margins. Each leaf blade is orbicular or oval in outline and indented at the base where the petiole joins the blade. The upper surface of each leaf blade is medium green, slightly pubescent to hairless, and wrinkled from fine veins; the lower surface is light green and pubescent. The petioles of the leaves are as long or a little longer than their blades; they are light green and hairy. The central stem terminates in a spike-like raceme of flowers; axillary flowers are produced from the axils of the upper leaves as well. These flowers occur individually or in small clusters along the central stem; they nod sideways from short hairy pedicels. Each flower spans about 3-5" when it is fully open; it has 5 petals, 5 sepals, 6-9 sepal-like bracts, and a columnar structure in the center with the reproductive organs (stamens toward the tip, thread-like stigmas below). The overlapping petals provide the flower with a funnelform shape; they are usually some shade of white, pink, or purplish red. The sepals are light green, ovate, and much smaller than the petals. The bracts of each flower are located underneath the sepals; they are light green, hairy, ovate, and joined together at the base. The blooming period occurs from mid-summer into the fall; a colony of plants will bloom for about 2 months. Each flower is replaced by a fruit containing a ring of 15-20 seeds (technically, a schizocarp). These seeds are oval, flattened, and notched on one side. The root system consists of a taproot. This plant spreads by reseeding itself.
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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Hollyhock occasionally escapes from cultivation, but rarely persists. Escaped plants have been collected primarily in NE and east central Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include areas along railroads, roadsides, vacant lots, and waste areas, especially in urban areas. Areas with a history of disturbance are preferred. Because of the showy flowers, Hollyhock is often cultivated in gardens. It is native to Eurasia.
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Distribution in Egypt

 Mountainous southern Sinai specially at St.Katherine.

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Global Distribution

East Mediterranean region, Sinai; widely cultivated in temperate and warm regions.

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Althaea rosea (L.) Cav.:
Canada (North America)
Guatemala (Mesoamerica)
Honduras (Mesoamerica)
Panama (Mesoamerica)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Alcea rosea L.:
Belize (Mesoamerica)
China (Asia)
Ecuador (South America)
Mexico (Mesoamerica)
United States (North America)
Colombia (South America)
Greece (Europe)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Distribution: According to Zohary (l.c.) “wild Alcea rosea L. seems to be indigenous almost exclusively on the Aegean islands and the adjacent Balkan Peninsula. The areas of its origin are no doubt the north-eastern Mediterranean countries, but not China which is beyond the natural range of the genus”. Elsewhere cultivated.
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Of uncertain origin. Extensively cultivated.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Erect annual herbs, 1-2.5 m tall. Stem rough stellate hairy, glabrescent. Leaves long petioled, large, round or ovate, at base cordate, at apex rounded, entire to 5-7 lobed, upper 3-lobed, crenate to dentate, scabrous and stellate pubescent on both sides. Flowers axillary, solitary or 2-3 in fascicles, spike like because of short pedicel in terminal branches, pedicel enlarged in fruit. Epicalyx segments 6-7, 1.5 cm long or more, fused below the middle, lanceolate to ovate. Calyx up to 1.5 times longer than epicalyx, both epicalyx and calyx stellate pubescent, scabrous. Corolla 5-7 cm across, of various colours; petals 4-7 cm long. Fruit depressed, globose; pubescent, enclosed by calyx, ± 2 cm across; mericarps 2C-40, channeled and winged dorsally, 5-7 mm across, back 1.5 mm broad.
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Description

Herbs biennial, erect, to 2(-3) m tall; stem densely hirsute. Stipules ovate, ca. 8 mm, apically 3-lobed; petiole 5-15 cm, stellate hirsute; leaf blade nearly orbicular, palmately 5-7-lobed or crenate-angled, 6-16 cm in diam., papery, abaxially long stellate hirsute or stellate tomentose, adaxially sparsely stellate pilose, lobes triangular or rounded, central lobe ca. 3 × 4-6 cm. Flowers solitary or fascicled, aggregated into a terminal, spikelike inflorescence. Bracts foliaceous. Pedicel ca. 5 mm, 8-10 mm in fruit, stellate hirsute. Epicalyx cup-shaped, usually 6- or 7-lobed, 8-10 mm, densely stellate hirsute, lobes ovate-lanceolate. Calyx campanulate, 2-3 cm in diam., lobes ovate-triangular, 1.2-1.5 cm, densely stellate hirsute. Corolla red, purple, white, pink, yellow, or black-purple, 6-10 cm in diam., sometimes double; petals obovate-triangular, ca. 4 cm, base attenuate, claw tipped with long thin hairs, apex emarginate. Staminal column glabrous, ca. 2 cm; filaments ca. 2 mm. Style branches many, puberulent. Schizocarp disk-shaped, ca. 2 cm in diam., puberulent; mericarps many, nearly orbicular, longitudinally grooved. Fl. Feb-Aug.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Althaea rosea (Linnaeus) Cavanilles; A. rosea var. sinensis (Cavanilles) S. Y. Hu; A. sinensis Cavanilles.
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Hollyhock occasionally escapes from cultivation, but rarely persists. Escaped plants have been collected primarily in NE and east central Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include areas along railroads, roadsides, vacant lots, and waste areas, especially in urban areas. Areas with a history of disturbance are preferred. Because of the showy flowers, Hollyhock is often cultivated in gardens. It is native to Eurasia.
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Escape from cultivation.

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Habitat & Distribution

● Cultivated. Throughout China [widely introduced throughout temperate regions].
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Associations

Faunal Associations

The flowers are cross-pollinated by several kinds of bees. Various insects feed on Hollyhock. These include the caterpillars of the skipper Pyrgus communis (Common Checkered Skipper), the caterpillars of the butterflies Vanessa cardui (Painted Lady) and Strymon melinus (Gray Hairstreak), and the caterpillars of the moths Acontia aprica (Exposed Bird-Dropping Moth), Anomis erosa (Yellow Scallop Moth), Autographa precationis (Common Looper Moth), and Mamestra configurata (Bertha Armyworm). Other insects that feed on Hollyhock include Apion longirostre (Hollyhock Weevil; a.k.a. Rhopalapion longirostre) and Popillia japonica (Japanese Beetle). This last insect can cause major damage to this plant. The foliage is palatable to cattle and other hoofed mammalian herbivores.
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Foodplant / gall
Agrobacterium tumefaciens causes gall of stem (esp. base) of Alcea rosea

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Apion radiolus feeds within stem of Alcea rosea

Foodplant / sap sucker
nymph of Campylomma verbasci sucks sap of Alcea rosea

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / parasite
Golovinomyces orontii parasitises live Alcea rosea

Foodplant / parasite
Leveillula taurica parasitises Alcea rosea

Foodplant / sap sucker
Macrosiphum euphorbiae sucks sap of live shoot (young) of Alcea rosea

Foodplant / saprobe
immersed, gregarious, often in lines pycnidium of Phoma coelomycetous anamorph of Phoma nebulosa is saprobic on dead stem of Alcea rosea

Foodplant / gall
pulvinate, hypophyllous telium of Puccinia malvacearum causes gall of live bract of Alcea rosea
Remarks: season: 4-11
Other: major host/prey

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Annual or short-lived perennial.

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Conservation

Conservation Status

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GU - Unrankable

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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Management

These species are introduced in Switzerland.
  • Aeschimann, D. & C. Heitz. 2005. Synonymie-Index der Schweizer Flora und der angrenzenden Gebiete (SISF). 2te Auflage. Documenta Floristicae Helvetiae N° 2. Genève.   http://www.crsf.ch/ External link.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full to partial sun, moist to mesic conditions, and a fertile loamy soil. Lower leaves will wither away during hot dry weather. Hollyhock is vulnerable to foliar disease, including rust.
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Wikipedia

Alcea rosea

Alcea rosea (common hollyhock; syn. Althaea chinensis Wall., Althaea ficifolia Cav., Althaea rosea Cav.) is an ornamental plant in the Malvaceae family.

It was imported into Europe from southwestern China during, or possibly before, the 15th century.[1] William Turner, an herbalist of the time, gave it the name "holyoke" from which the English name derives.

Cultivation[edit]

Alcea rosea is variously described as a biennial (having a two-year life cycle), as an annual, or as a short-lived perennial.[2][3][4] It frequently self-sows, which may create a perception that the plants are perennial.[2] The plant may flower during its first year when sown early.[3] It will grow in a wide range of soils, and can easily reach a height of about 8 feet (2.4 m). The flowers are a range of colours from white to dark red, including pink, yellow and orange. Different colours prefer different soils.[citation needed] The darker red variety seems to favour sandy soils, while the lighter colour seems to favour clay soils.[citation needed] The plants are easily grown from seed, and readily self-seed. However, tender plants, whether young from seed or from old stock, may be wiped out by slugs and snails. The foliage is subject to attack from rust (Puccinia malvacearum), which may be treated with fungicides.[5] Commercial growers have reported that some closely related species (Alcea rugosa and Alcea ficifolia) are resistant to this fungus.[6]

Herbalism[edit]

In herbal medicine, Hollyhock is believed to be an emollient and laxative. It is used to control inflammation, to stop bedwetting and as a mouthwash in cases of bleeding gums.[7]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "Flora of China 12: 267–268. 2007". Harvard University. Retrieved 2011-07-21. 
  2. ^ a b "Hollyhock". Cornell University. Retrieved 2011-07-21. 
  3. ^ a b "Annual - Hollyhock - Alcea rosea". University of Illinois. Retrieved 2011-07-21. 
  4. ^ "Plant of the Month - Hollyhocks". New Mexico State University Master Gardener Newsletter. Retrieved 2011-07-21. 
  5. ^ "Hollyhock rust". Cornell University. Archived from the original on 22 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  6. ^ "Yard & Garden Line News". University of Minnesota Extension Service. 2005-06-15. Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  7. ^ Howard, Michael. Traditional Folk Remedies (Century, 1987) p.155

References[edit]

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Notes

Comments

In Pakistan it is extensively cultivated throughout.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Origin of this widely cultivated ornamental is unclear, but assumed Eurasian. Sometimes classified in the genus Althaea as Althaea rosea.

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