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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 12 | Malvaceae | Althaea

1. Althaea officinalis Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 686. 1753.

药葵 yao kui

Althaea kragujevacensis Pančić ex N. Diklić & V. Stevanovic; A. micrantha Borbás; A. sublobata Stokes; A. taurinensis Candolle; A. vulgaris Bubani; Malva althaea E. H. L. Krause; M. maritima Salisbury; M. officinalis (Linnaeus) Schimper & Spenner.

Herbs perennial, erect, ca. 1 m tall; stem densely stellate hirsute. Petiole 1-4 cm, stellate tomentose; leaf blade ovate-orbicular or cordate, 3-lobed or not lobed, 3-8 × 1.5-6 cm, papery, both surfaces densely stellate tomentose, base nearly cordate or rounded, margin bluntly dentate, apex acute. Epicalyx lobes 9, lanceolate, ca. 4 mm, densely stellate strigose. Calyx cup-shaped, persistent, 5-parted, longer than epicalyx, densely stellate hirsute, lobes lanceolate. Corolla pink, ca. 2.5
cm in diam.; petals ca. 1.5 cm, obovate-oblong. Staminal column ca. 8 mm. Ovary 15-25-loculed. Fruit a disk-shaped schizocarp, ca. 8 mm in diam., enclosed by calyx, puberulent. Seeds reniform. Fl. Jul.

Riverbanks. Native in Xinjiang (Tacheng); cultivated in Beijing, Jiangsu (Nanjing), Shaanxi (Xi’an), and Yunnan (Kunming) [Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan; SW Asia, Europe].

The roots are used medicinally. They are also the source of mucilage used for confections.


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