1. Alcea rosea Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 687. 1753.
蜀葵 shu kui
Althaea rosea (Linnaeus) Cavanilles; A. rosea var. sinensis (Cavanilles) S. Y. Hu; A. sinensis Cavanilles.
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.
● Cultivated. Throughout China [widely introduced throughout temperate regions].
Alcea rosea originated in the SW provinces of China and has been grown in Europe since at least the 15th century. It is cultivated as an
ornamental and is used medicinally. It is not known from any truly wild situations.