by Stephen Mifsud
   9 Dec 2023      ()
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Alcea rosea   (Common Hollyhock)

Alcea rosea  (MALVACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Nov-2007 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Alcea rosea - datasheet created on Nov-2007. Retrieved from on 09-Dec-2023

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Alcea roseaL.
Published in Sp. Pl. : 687 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Alcea ficifolia Nyman
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Malvaceae Juss. (The Mallow Family)
19 species from the Malvaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Common Hollyhock, St. Joseph's Staff

Maltese name(s) :

Bastun ta' San Ġuzepp

Status for Malta :

Casual or accidental alien. Species that was introduced in Malta rather recently and normally it is short-lived or resticted to small populations for a short time, without becoming widespread or invasive.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: HEMICRYPTOPHYTE ( prostate plants with flowers close to the ground )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

April – June

Colour of Flowers:

Pink or Violet


Toxic, and may lead to irreversible damage or death if consumed in large quantities

Name Derivation :

Alcea: from the Greek 'alkea' or 'alkaia' and the Latin 'alcea' meaning a mallow, type of plants with rather conspicuous pink to wine flowers. (Both Latin and Greek origin) )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Gardens, farm houses, parks, fields. Some specimens encountered in the wild (abandoned or neglected fields) might have been planed by man and persist for a couple of years.
Botanical Description: Stem glabrescent or sparsely setose with deflexed hairs, tomentose-pubescent only on youngest parts. Leaves cordate-orbicular to rhombic, weakly 3- to 5-lobed, slightly scabrid-setulose. Epicalyx-segments deltate to triangular-lanceolate, 1/2-2/3 as long as the subacute, triangular sepals. Petals 30-50 mm, contiguous, usually pink but sometimes white or violet. Mericarps 7 mm; dorsal face with deep, narrow furrow; angles rugose, produced into parallel wings; lateral faces appressed-setose.
Distributional range: Of unknown origin cultivated in gardens throughout Europe and widely naturalized.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Introduced in  Austria and Liechtenstein, Britain (excl. Northern Ireland and Channel islands), Bulgaria, Czeck Republic and Slovakia, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Germany, Switzerland, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Hungary, Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Romania, Russia and former USSR
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
[Ab Au Az(F P S) ?BH nBl(M) Br nBu By Ca(C F T) Cg nCo Es nGa(F) Ge He nHs(S) Hu nIJ nIt nJu La Lt nLu nMa Md(M) Mk Mo Rf(C E K NW S) cRm nSa Si(M) nSi(S) Sk Sl aSn nSr Uk nUk(K)]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (11 images)
   Alcea rosea   -   Image Code: ALCRS-0.
   Alcea rosea   -   Image Code: ALCRS-1.
   Alcea rosea   -   Image Code: ALCRS-2.
   Alcea rosea   -   Image Code: ALCRS-3.
   Alcea rosea   -   Image Code: ALCRS-4.
   Alcea rosea   -   Image Code: ALCRS-5.
   Alcea rosea   -   Image Code: ALCRS-6.
   Alcea rosea   -   Image Code: ALCRS-7.
   Alcea rosea   -   Image Code: ALCRS-8.
   Alcea rosea   -   Image Code: ALCRS-9.
   Alcea rosea   -   Image Code: ALCRS-10.

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