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Marsh-mallow or Althea officinalis is a tall plant resembling a hollyhock, with velvety grey leaves that are triangular and folded. The large pale pink flowers have a slight veining of darker purple and give way to furry fruits. This is a plant of coastal salt marshes and a useful one to encourage in damp coastal conditions. Some people consider it to be difficult to grow in the garden, but it is widely available from nurseries.
Growing 1-1.2m tall, this hardy perennial will need cutting back after flowering to maintain a neat shape.
The roots used to be boiled to a jelly to make the confectionery named after it, and in France dried marsh-mallow roots are still sold as a soother for teething babies to chew on. Infusions of leaves and flowers make a soothing gargle for sore throats.