Althaea officinalis, the marshmallow or marsh Mallow, is a flowering species of plant native to North Africa, Western Asia, and Europe. The name of the genus “Althaea” is derived from the Greek word “althäeis” for “heal, promote“.

Marshmallow Flowers

The name of the plant family to which the real marshmallow belongs, the Malvaceae (mallow) family, is of Greek origin – “malake” meaning something “soft“. The Althaea genus consists of 6 to 12 species[1] of perennial grasses.

White Marshmallow Flower

This hardy perennial has a deep, fleshy taproot. From here, grow firm, soft-haired to matted, unbranched stalks that can reach a height of 5 feet (1½ meters).

The leaves are short-stemmed, rounded, oval-heart-shaped, 50-75 mm (2 to 3 inches) long, and around 30 mm (1 1⁄4 inches) wide, with entire or 3- to 5-lobed margins, with irregularly serrated edges.

True marshmallow flowers appear in clusters in the leaf axils from July to September. They are 1.2 to 2 in (3 to 5 cm) tall. The flowers are white to pale pink, with 6 to 9 outer sepals that are slightly scented.

Suggested Reading: Common Flower Types

Cite This Page

APA7MLA8Chicago (2023, October 01). Marshmallow. Bio Explorer. "Marshmallow" Bio Explorer, 01 October 2023, "Marshmallow" Bio Explorer, October 01 2023.
Key References
  • [1]“Althaea officinalis – Species Page – NYFA: New York Flora Atlas”. Accessed November 27, 2021. Link.


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