views updated May 17 2018

Althaea (marsh mallow, hollyhock, etc.; family Malvaceae) A genus of herbs that have showy, regular, 5-petalled flowers and an epicalyx of 6–9 segments joined below into a cup-like involucre hiding the calyx. Several species (e.g. A. rosea, hollyhock) are cultivated for their flowers or (e.g. A. officinalis, marsh mallow) for the mucilage used in confectionery or medicine. There are about 12 species occurring in temperate Eurasia.