Common name: Tree Mallow. Hocas Ard.
This population originates from Co Down. Irish Grid reference: J521620.
A striking biennial to short lived perennial with stems to 3m tall. Large downy leaves to 20cms wide and beautiful pink and purple flowers 14-20cms at nodes up the stems from April to October. Found around most of the Irish coast in rocky scrubby places.
The leaves are the larval food plant of the Tortricid moth Crocidosema plebejana and also butterfly Painted lady Vanessa cardui. The flowers provide nectar and pollen for a wide range on insects. Because of its height it’s great as a natural perch in your garden for the little birds to stay safe from cats.
Found in coastal habitats around Ireland, it has a high tolerance to salt water, having salt excretion glands on its leaves and stands well in exposed places.
Sow in early spring, around March on heat or when temperatures reach 18C and under protection, in seed modules of loamy compost mixed with course horticultural sand. When large enough, plant out in situ. If you can leave them to self seed they should come on every year.
The edible seeds are known in Jersey as “petit pains” meaning little breads. The leaves are also edible but not as nice as Malva sylvestris on account of their hairy texture. It was know in the past as an animal feed.
Avg contents: 30 seeds.