Mallow Family Malvaceae
The Mallow family includes Alcea (Hollyhock), Sidalcea, Hibiscus, Musk Mallow, Althaea (Marsh Mallow) and Lavatera. The family Malvaceae is named after the Greek word malakos meaning soft or soothing after the Common Mallow’s use as an anti-inflammatory for skin disorders.
Flowers are radially symmetrical with 5 petals but their main distinguishing feature is that the many stamens are formed into a staminal tube by the fusing of their filaments. The tube surrounds the many styles which which protrude from the top of the tube. The anthers mature first, shed pollen and then wither to leave the receptive stigmas at the top of the styles exposed. Fine white hairs protect the nectar secreting pits at the base of the petals.
China Rose Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is not known in the wild but it has been cultivated for centuries. Thought to originate in Asia. Grown in a conservatory or greenhouse in Britain.
Musk Mallow Malva moschata is a wild flower native to Britain, Europe and southwestern Asia. The flower has a musky odour when it opens in July to August.
Marsh Mallow Althaea officinalis is a wild flower native to Britain that grows in salt marshes near the sea