Genus Alcea L.

Род 494 (4). АЛЦЕЯ — ALCEA L.
L., Sp. Pl.. ed. 1 (1753) 687; Gen. Pl. ed. 5 (1754) 307; Zohary, Bull.
Res. Counc. Israel XID (1963) 210—229 et Israel J. Bot. XII, 1 (1961) 1—26

Fam:   Malvaceae Juss.
Genus:   Alcea L.
English Name: Hollyhocks


Perennial to biennial herbaceous plants. Stems erect. Stipules duple to five-piece. Leaves entire or palmate with rounded petioles. Blossoms at least 30 mm in diameter, numerous; single or collected 2 - 3 in the leaf grooves, in the upper parts of the stems and branches in dense, slender or irregular class-like inflorescences. Blossom petioles short, thickly fibrous, with thick, short fitting and scattered star-shaped hairs with ascending rays. Calyx double: outer sepals 6 (-7), fused to 1/3 of half, significantly shorter or nearly equal to inner sepals; the last 5, growing to 1/3 or half. Petals 5, deep at the top incised, at the base narrowed into silky fibrous, rarely naked nail; white pink or purple. Stamens in cross-section pentagonal, on tip incised in numerous petioles, naked; the anthers are yellowish. Ovaries numerous, with one ascending seedling; styles numerous; stigma filamentous, lateral, located along the inner surface of the styles. Fruit dry, malleable, discoid, concave in the middle, decaying into 18 - 45 laterally flattened, not cracked, rounded fruiting shares; each particle incompletely double-lobed, one nest sterile and separated from the other by a false barrier; fruiting shares arranged in a simple circle around the short, conical or flattened tip of the flower bed; winged edges. Insect pollinated; propagated by seeds.
Business importans. All members of the genus are decorative (especially A. rosea L.) and honey plants. The blossoms of A: rosea and A. pallida (Waldst. Et Kit. Ex Willd.) Waldst. et Kit. They are used to prepare softeners and to extract black dye.

Genus Alcea L. - Алцея
Table for determination of the species

1    Stems bare or with thin, downward simple and single star-shaped hairs (thickly tufted in only the youngest parts). Peripheral parts of the lateral walls of the fruiting shares fibrous ........…………………………………………..............................……………….. 1. - A. rosea L.
1* Stems with thick star-shaped hairs, thick. The lateral walls of the fruiting shares bare ……...................................
2   Exterior sepals almost 2 times shorter than internal sepals. ......................................................................... 3. - A. heldreichii (Boiss.) Boiss.
2* The outer seals are equal or slightly shorter than the inner ones ...................................... A. pallida (Waldst. Et Kit. Ex Willd.) Waldst. et Kit.

From:   „Флора на Н Р България”, том VII, БАН, София, (1979)

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Alcea is a genus of about 60 species of flowering plants in the mallow family Malvaceae, commonly known as the hollyhocks.[1] They are native to Asia and Europe.[1] The single species of hollyhock from the Americas, the streambank wild hollyhock, belongs to a different genus.


Hollyhocks are annual, biennial, or perennial plants usually taking an erect, unbranched form. The herbage usually has a coating of star-shaped hairs. The leaf blades are often lobed or toothed, and are borne on long petioles. The flowers may be solitary or arranged in fascicles or racemes. The notched petals are usually over three centimeters wide and may be pink, white, purple, or yellow. The fruit is a schizocarp, a dry disc divided into over 15 sections that contain seeds.[1]


Hollyhocks are popular garden ornamental plants. They are easily grown from seed. Breeds with red flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Cultivars have been bred, especially from A. rosea. They include the double-flowered 'Chater's Double', the raspberry-colored 'Creme de Cassis', and 'The Watchman', which has dark, nearly black, maroon flowers.[3]
The stems of hollyhocks can be used as firewood, and the roots have been used medicinally.[1][4]

Pests and diseases

Alcea species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Bucculatrix quadrigemina and Vanessa cardui, the painted lady.
The mallow flea beetle (Podagrica fuscicornis) is a pest that makes tiny holes in the leaves. Cutworms, aphids, and capsid bugs use the plant as a food source in hotter and drier conditions.[5] A number of weevils use A. rosea as their host plant, including Rhopalapion longirostre, Alocentron curvirostre, and Aspidapion validum.[6]
The plants are also susceptible to the pathogenic fungus Puccinia malvacearum, the hollyhock rust.[7]


A hollyhock flower, known in Japan as aoi (葵), was incorporated into the official seal (mon) of the Tokugawa shogunate in Japan, and through this influence has maintained importance in modern Japanese culture. For example, it inspired the name and symbol of Mito HollyHock, a professional soccer club in a city formerly led by the Tokugawa family. The Aoi Matsuri (Hollyhock Festival) is one of the three main festivals of the city of Kyoto.
During the Victorian era, the hollyhock symbolized both ambition and fecundity in the language of flowers.[8]

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Distribution in Bulgaria: (Conspectus of the Bulgarian Vascular Flora) = conspectus&gs_l= Zlc.

References: „Флора на Н Р България”, том VII, БАН, София, (1979), Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Alcea heldreichii (Boiss.) Boiss. - no English name found


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