Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Alcea rosea L., Sp. Pl. 687. 1753. Althaea rosea (L.) Cav. Diss. 2: 91., t. 28. f. 1. 1786; Masters in Fl. Brit. India 1: 319. 1874. A. coromandeliana Cav., Diss. 2: 93. 1786.


Hindi: Gulphaira; Kash.: Sudooposh.

Annual, erect herbs, 1.5 - 2 m high, stellate-hairy, ultimately glabrescent. Leaves 3 - 13 x 3.5 - 12 cm, orbicular-cordate, deeply 3 - 7-lobed, lobes subrotundate or triangular, acute at apex, crenate to dentate; petioles 2 - 18 cm. Flowers solitary, axillary or in terminal racemes by reduction of upper leaves; pedicels 5 - 10 mm long, accrescent up to 15 mm in fruit. Epicalyx segments 6 - 7, 1 - 1.5 x 0.3 - 0.5 cm, ovate-lanceolate. calyx lobes 15 - 20 x 5 - 10 mm, ovate to ovate-lanceolate. Petals 4 - 7 cm long, variously coloured, usually red. Staminal column 10 - 15 mm long. Schizocarps ca 2 cm across, depressed globose, pubescent, enclosed by calyx; mericarps 20 - 40, ca 4 mm across, longitudinally sulcate.

Fl. & Fr. March - Sept.

Cultivated throughout India for its showy flowers.

Notes. According to Zohary (Bull. Res. Counc. Israel 11: 210. 1963), "Wild A. rosea L. seems to be indigenous almost exclusively on the Aegean Islands and the adjacent Balkan peninsula. The areas of its origin are no doubt the north-eastern Mediterranean countries, but not China which is beyond the natural range of the genus".

Flowers and seeds are medicinal. The flowers yield a red dye (anthocyanin) and is used as indicator in acidimetry and alkalimetry (Sobyanin and Soakov, Chem. & abstr., 1930, 24, 1962).




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