One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A tall Eurasian plant of the mallow family, widely cultivated for its large showy flowers.
Alcea rosea, family Malvaceae
- ‘In the surrounding beds, hollyhocks soar and golden columbines provide bright splashes.’
- ‘The hollyhocks are gone now, and the concrete is purpled by mulberries instead.’
- ‘Now the gardens here are full of corn and hollyhocks.’
- ‘Her platters are decorated with basil and mint from the herb bed, her tables with hollyhocks and Shasta daisies from the garden.’
- ‘Her diary also contains numerous references to the bulbs, geraniums, hollyhocks, and dahlias that she planted, tended, and appreciated.’
- ‘They have grown everything from sunflowers, poppies and hollyhocks to corn, cotton, potatoes, coconuts and dandelions.’
- ‘In the autumn, cut the hollyhocks to ground level and collect and destroy all fallen plant material.’
- ‘Old-fashioned annual hollyhocks have heart-shaped leaves and produce 6-to 8-foot-tall spikes of color in late April-June.’
- ‘Plants that may require staking to hold their blooms high include Canterbury bells, hollyhocks, and verbascums, with foxgloves and delphiniums in the upper garden zones.’
- ‘One hid in the hollyhocks in the garden; I saw her from the window.’
- ‘Everyone liked the hollyhocks outside, however.’
- ‘I have grown hollyhocks for the first time. They have been superb, but none of my gardening books tells me what to do once they've finished flowering.’
- ‘Near the house, which bounds one side of the garden, she grows towering delphiniums and hollyhocks for their strong vertical interest.’
- ‘Likewise, flowers that need to send up their stalks high into the sky, such as hollyhocks, will obviously fare better in a country garden than they will in a city window box.’
- ‘Is there a spray I can use that will not harm visiting hummingbirds - the reason I plant the hollyhocks?’
Middle English: from holy + obsolete hock ‘mallow’, of unknown origin. It originally denoted the marsh mallow which has medicinal uses (hence, perhaps, the use of ‘holy’); the current sense dates from the mid 16th century.
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