Even though the root of this plant was once
used to make a sweet confection, pate de guimauve, it is now mainly a medicinal
herb. Indeed, the Greek word altho means to cure.
As the common name, Marsh Mallow, implies this plant likes it on the wet or marshy
side. It has the common mallow flower, but smaller than today's ornamental
hybrids. The Malvaceae family to which the Marsh Mallow belongs has hundreds of
members, some of them are famous like Hollyhock and Hibiscus.
While we have not eaten this plant ourselves,
it is said to have palatable young leaves, seed heads, also known as cheeses,
for crunching in salads and a root that can be harvested in autumn, peeled and
boiled like a turnip.
Marsh Mallow would make an
interesting addition to our
Herb Garden Six Pack.