Rose-Mallow

Rose-Mallow_jpgMallow comes from the Greek word malache meaning “soft”. The name was given either because of the soft downy leaves or because of the soothing, gelatinous properties of the roots, used in early medical practice as cough syrups and for “internal irritations”.  In the late 1700s the root of the rose-mallow, in the form of an emollient poultice was used to treat tumors of the breast; hence the name Breast-Root.  Native Americans applied an infusion (medicine prepared by steeping plant parts without boiling) of dried stalks of a related species in this genus for inflammation of the bladder. The original camp fire marshmallows were made from the roots of the marsh-mallow.  The outer layer was stripped off, cut into small pieces, boiled with sugar until very thick and drooped onto wax paper to cool. The root can also be prepared as a vegetable: cut into thin sections, boiled for 20 minutes and fried with butter and onions.  Young leaves of the rose-mallow may be used to thicken soups and stews.  The flower buds can be pickled and used as a substitute for capers.

OtherCommonName:

Crimson-Eyed Rose-Mallow, Breast-Root, Mallow-Rose, Marsh Hibiscus, Marsh-Mallow, Muskplant, Sea-Hollyhock, Swamp-Mallow, Swamp-Rose, Water-Mallow, Wild-Cotton

ScientificName:

Hibiscus moscheutos

Community:

Freshwater Wetlands

PlantStatus:

Native

LifeSpan:

Perennial

PlantHeight:

3 to 6 feet

FruitingTime:

Late September to October

Distribution:

Massachusetts to Gulf of Mexico and west to Wisconsin ~ In NJ, throughout coastal plains outside the Pine Barrens, decreasing inland.

FloweringTime:

Late July to September

IdentifyingCharacteristics:

Alternate, soft, irregularly toothed, gray-green, heart shaped leaves ~ Five petaled, pink large flower ~ Hairy stems