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These plants, funghi and insect illustrations
are part of my botanical oracle deck

Alcea rosea | Hollyhock


Botanical Overview of Hollyhock

  • Scientific Name: Alcea rosea

  • Common Names: Hollyhock, Common Hollyhock, Garden Hollyhock

  • Family: Malvaceae

  • Description: A tall, biennial or short-lived perennial plant with large, heart-shaped leaves and tall spikes bearing numerous colorful flowers, ranging from white to pink, red, purple, and yellow.

alcea rosea botanical illustration

Properties of Hollyhock

  • Chemical Constituents: Mucilage, anthocyanins, flavonoids, tannins, and essential oils.

  • Edibility: Flowers and young leaves are edible and can be used in salads, as garnishes, or made into a soothing tea.


Distribution and Habitat of Hollyhock

  • Native Range: Southwestern and Central Asia.

  • Preferred Habitat: Grows well in full sun, in a variety of soil types, but prefers well-drained, fertile soil. Often found in gardens, along fences, and in meadows.


Medicinal Properties and Uses of Hollyhock

  • Traditional Uses: Used as a demulcent and emollient, helpful in soothing irritated tissues and treating respiratory issues.

  • Modern Applications: Applied in poultices for skin inflammations and wounds, and used in teas for coughs, sore throats, and digestive issues.


Magical Correspondences and Uses of Hollyhock in Magical Practice

  • Element: Water

  • Planet: Venus

  • Magical Properties: Fertility, abundance, protection, and dream magic.

  • Uses: Hollyhock is often used in spells to enhance fertility and attract abundance. It can be placed around the home for protection and to promote a peaceful atmosphere. Flowers are also used in dream pillows to encourage vivid and meaningful dreams.


Folklore, Legends, and Mythology of Hollyhock

  • Historical Context: Hollyhocks have been cultivated since ancient times and were a popular plant in medieval cottage gardens.

  • Folklore: In Victorian times, hollyhocks were believed to symbolize ambition and fecundity. It was common to plant them near the front door to bring prosperity to the household.

  • Mythology: Associated with the fairy realm in some traditions, hollyhocks are said to attract fairies to the garden. In ancient Chinese medicine, hollyhock seeds were used in various traditional remedies.


Historical Literary Sources

  • John Gerard's "Herball" (1597): A comprehensive herbal compendium that includes uses of hollyhock in traditional medicine.

  • Nicholas Culpeper's "The English Physician" (1652): Describes the medicinal properties and applications of hollyhock.

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