from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A genus of plants of the Mallow family. It includes the officinal marsh mallow, and the garden hollyhocks.
- n. An ornamental shrub (Hibiscus Syriacus) of the Mallow family.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A genus of plants, of the natural order Malvaceæ, including the hollyhock, A. rosea, and the marsh-mallow, A. officinalis.
- n. A common name of the Hibiscus Syriacus, cultivated in gardens. Also called shrubby althæa and rose of Sharon.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. any of various plants of the genus Althaea; similar to but having smaller flowers than genus Alcea
Sorry, no etymologies found.
[L. althaea, a marsh mallow, f. [the Greek] to heal.]
Round the guard-house a number of negro girls, with broad flat baskets on their heads, were selling fruit and cold water: they had decked their woolly hair, and the edges of their baskets, with garlands of the scarlet althaea; their light blue or white cloaks were thrown gracefully across their dusky shoulders, and white jackets, so that it was such a picture as the early Spaniards might have drawn of their Eldorado.
The plant is althaea officinalis - it may have had a connection with the plant in a dim and distant English past, but these days it has none. matzah - aka matzo unleavened bread, basically a dry biscuit.