Hollyhock  (Alcea rosea): Introduction, Classification, Habitat, Cultivation, propagation and collection, Plant Description, Phytochemicals, Properties and, use

Hollyhock  (Alcea rosea): Introduction, Classification, Habitat, Cultivation, propagation and collection, Plant Description, Phytochemicals, Properties and, use


The Malvaceae family includes Althaea rosea. The Greek word altho, which means to cure, is the source of the name Althaea (generic). Because of the unique abilities of mallows to soften and heal, the word “Malvaceae” (order) is derived from the Greek word malake (soft). The common name Hollyhock may have originated from holy and the Anglo-Saxon term hoc, which stands for Mallon. A majestic decorative plant, Althaea rosea produces huge, multicoloured single, semi-double, double, or frilled blooms. This plant’s entire body contains mucilage, which is why it is employed in medicine. This herb is helpful for a wide range of illnesses, including cough, arthritis, inflammatory problems, asthma, bronchitis, boils, abscesses, skin scrapes, ulcers, burns, peptic ulceration, renal calculi, and kidney disorders.

Althaea rosea flower


Kingdom: Plantae

Division: Magnoliophyta

Class: Magnoliopsida

Order: Malvales

Family: Malvaceae

Genus: Althaea

Species: Althaea rosea

Common name: Hock Herb, Hollyhock, Round Dock


A genus of herbs that are found from Central Asia to the eastern Mediterranean. Commonly grown in Indian gardens; originally from China and Greece. Sometimes discovered as an escape in trash bins and by the sides of roadways.

Cultivation, Propagation and Collection

The plains, where the monsoon is not too intense, are the greatest places to cultivate herbs during the winter; they can also flourish during rainy seasons. It has been cultivated all year long in the plains under moderate climatic conditions. In the plains and on the hills, there are different flowering seasons. The plant typically blooms in 4-5 months, while the early bloomers may require less time. Both sandy and clayey soils that have been strengthened with organic manure can support their growth. In addition to a suitable 60 cm × 60 cm spacing, proper watering is required. In the plains, reproduction mostly happens by seed. The seeds are planted in well-tended and manured areas, and they are watered as needed. The seedlings are transplanted to well-prepared, rich, friable soils after 30 days. The division of roots into pieces, each with crown buds and shoot cuttings, allows for the propagation of the herbs on the hills. Due to Althaea rosea’s extensive cross-pollination, not all hybrids will have real colours and forms.

Plant Description

1. Althaea rosea is an annual or biennial herb that grows erect, simple or sparsely branched, stellately hairy, and ranges in height from 0.5 to 2.0 m.

2. This plant’s stem is erect, sturdy, simple, and more or less hispid with fascicled branching hairs, frequently reaching a height of 2.4 to 3 m.

3. Large, cordate-ovate, long-petioled, sharply 5- to 7-lobed leaves measure between 7.5 and 12.5 cm in diameter. Large, frequently surpassing 10 cm in diameter, purple, rose, or white flowers with short pedicels and lengthy terminal racemes are present.

4. Monophyllous involucres are big, cup-shaped, segmented from 6 to 9, obtuse, and frequently bifid. Large, five-segmented, downy, and sharp calyx.

5. Petals are obcordate, waxy, and quite broad.

6. Anthers are a light yellow colour, and the stamen tube is short. Each cell in the ovary contains one ovule.

7. When ripe, the disc-shaped fruit splits into one-seeded nutlets. The roughly 6 mm-long, brownish-black, kidney-shaped seeds have hair and rugose edges. When the seeds are submerged in water, they become mucilaginous.


Alcea rosea has epidermal cells with smooth walls. Although the stomata and trichomes were often more concentrated on the abaxial surface of the leaves, they were both amphistomatic and amphitrichomic. Alcea rosea has stellate trichomes and diacytic stomata. Due to the presence of an abundant layer of glandular trichomes, the thin leaves appeared thick. From a polar perspective, pollen grains are spherical with a pollen diameter of around 115(132)142 m; in the equatorial view, pollen grains are oval to elliptic, monocolpate, and polyporate. On the whole pollen surface, there are distinct, rounded pores with a 2(4)5 m pore diameter. Sexine and nexine are distinguished within exine, which is 3.4-5 m thick. The tectum is subpsilate, echinate, and perforated. Spines are consistently ordered, number 140 (145) 150, dimorphic, larger ones with acute apexes while shorter ones with broad apexes, and resistant to acetolysis. The Althaea rosea’s seeds are around 6 mm in length, are typically brownish-black in colour, and are kidney-shaped with rugose and hairy margins. Pentamerous, hermaphrodite, hypogynous, and infundibuliform flowers are produced either as axillary solitary flowers from the axils of the higher leaves or at the end of the central stalks in a raceme. Flowers have 6 to 9 bracts, and under the five ovate, light green, hairy sepals, which are smaller than the petals, is the epicalyx. Five funnel-shaped, overlapping petals in white, pink, or purple-red have a columnar structure in the centre that houses the reproductive organs. Each of the 15-20 mericarps of the fruit contains a black seed.



The flowers have tannins, starch, and mucilage. They produce an anthocyanin pigment and the flavonoid altheanin (aromadendrin-3-glucoside, 0.06%). (althaein). Along with sucrose, glucose, galactose, and mannose, the fruits and leaves also contain the major alcohols cyclohexanol, limonene, phellandrene, and -sitosterol. The root includes mucilage polysaccharides (glucans, arabinogalactans, glucanosides, carbohydrates), flavonoid glycosides (kaempferol, quercetin), coumarins, caffeine, calcium oxalate, lipids, and sterols in addition to the p-tolualdehyde and -terpenyl acetate found in the leaves. Alkaloids, glycosides, carbohydrates, phenolic compounds, and flavonoids are detected in methanolic extracts of Althaea rosea L. seeds while only carbohydrates were present in chloroform and aqueous extracts of the same seeds.

Parts Used

Roots, leaves, seeds and flowers

Properties and uses

The seeds of Althaea rosea are diuretic, febrifuge, mucilaginous, demulcent, emollient, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory. Asthma, boils and abscesses, diarrhoea, skin cuts and burns, haemoptysis, constipation, intestinal colic, peptic ulceration, renal calculi, burning micturition, cough, dysphagia, dysuria, thirst, arthritis, skin inflammation and ulcers, enteritis, cystitis, gastritis, proctitis, mastitis, metritis, and bronchitis can all be helped by them. Althaea rosea’s root has demulcent and astringent qualities. Diarrhoea, constipation, appetite loss, ulcers, violent coughs, fever, bronchitis, and inflammation are among the conditions it is used to treat. The flowers of Althaea rosea have diuretic, cooling, demulcent, emollient, anti-inflammatory, febrifuge, astringent, and other qualities that make them effective in treating conditions including rheumatism, dysmenorrhea, haemorrhage, and constipation as well as improving blood circulation. The uterine, kidney, and vaginal inflammations, as well as vaginal and seminal discharge, can all be treated with flowers and roots. The entire plant is helpful for ailments including dandruff, kidney pain, urinary irritation, throat pain, jaundice, cough, and irritable stomach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What are hollyhocks good for?

Ans: Tea made from the flower has therapeutic properties. Hollyhock is used by people to treat and prevent digestive and respiratory issues.

Question: What does Alcea rosea symbolize?

Ans: Pink hollyhocks stand for sensitivity, love, and care.

Question: Do you cut hollyhocks down after flowering?

Ans: No

Question: When should hollyhocks be cut back?

Ans: By early September

Question: How many years do hollyhocks last?

Ans: two to three years

Question: Can hollyhocks withstand frost?

Ans: Yes

Question: Are hollyhocks invasive?

Ans: Yes

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