Right now, one of the few flowers blooming in the D.C. area is Rose Mallow. The Mallow family includes okra, cotton, hibiscus and hollyhock. I’m not sure why there aren’t more around–the blooms are the size of dinner plates and quite beautiful.
This plant is related to the Marsh Mallow, whose root was used as a remedy for sore throat in ancient Egypt. It’s also been used on bee stings and skin irritations. Supposedly, vegetarians have made marshmallows from the root so they could avoid animal gelatin.
One of the monikers for Rose Mallow is Hardy Hibiscus. It definitely reminds me of the hibiscus plants in California.
Rose Mallow comes in shades of red, pink and white. We have a red one in the area, but I’ve not been happy with my shots so far. It’s nearly always in full sun and the blossoms close up when the sun goes down. If we get a day that’s overcast, I may try it again.
According to Planet Botanic, “several centuries ago, a very chic dessert called paté de guimauve was made by grinding the root and adding the resulting powder to beaten egg whites and sugar. The end result, served at many a royal dinner, was also known as “marsh-mellows.”
I think I’ll stick with s’mores. 🙂 For anyone not familiar: a yummy treat made of graham crackers, toasted marshmallows and Hershey’s chocolate bars. Or Nutella. . . .