Stem. - Stout and tall, four to eight feet high. Leaves. - The lower three-lobed, the upper oblong, whitish and downy beneath. Flowers. - Large and showy, pink. Calyx. - Five-cleft, with a row of narrow bractlets beneath. Corolla. - Of five large petals. Stamens. - Many, on a tube which encloses the lower part of the style. Pistils. - Five, united into one, with five stigmas which are like pin-heads.
When the beautiful rose mallow slowly unfolds her pink banner-like petals and admits the eager bee to her stores of golden pollen, then we feel that the summer is far advanced. As truly as the wood anemone and the blood-root seem filled with the essence of spring and the promise of the opening year, so does this stately flower glow with the maturity and fulfilment of late summer. Here is none of the timorousness of the early blossoms which peep shyly out, as if ready to beat a hasty retreat should a late frost overtake them, but rather a calm assurance that the time is ripe, and that the salt marshes and brackish ponds are only awaiting their rosy lining.
The marsh mallow, whose roots yield the mucilaginous substance utilized in the well-known confection, is Althaa officinalis, an emigrant from Europe. It is a much less common plant than the Hibiscus, its pale pink flowers being found in some of the salt marshes of New England and New York.
The common mallow, Malva rotundifolia, which overruns the country dooryards and village waysides, is a little plant with rounded, heart-shaped leaves and small purplish flowers. It is used by the country people for various medicinal purposes and is cultivated and commonly boiled with meat in Egypt. Job pictures himself as being despised by those who had been themselves so destitute as to "cut up mallows by the bushes. ... for their meat." *
* Job xxx. 4.
Plate LXXV. Rose Mallow. - H. Moscheutos