How did hollyhocks get their name?: Information Roundup
Hollyhock is derived from Middle English holi, "holy," and Anglo-Saxon hoc, "mallow," and literally means holy or blessed mallow. The word is analogous to holiday, "holy day," and really should be spelled holihock, as it once was. It is supposed that the English marsh mallow (Althea officinalis), the flower to which the name was originally applied, was so called from some now forgotten legend in the life of one of the early saints. There seems to be no ground for the common story that hollyhocks received their name from having been brought to Europe by the crusaders from the Holy Land, where they grew in abundance. This popular name of the marsh mallow has in more recent times been transferred to Althea rosea, a different species Of the same genus. The plant now known as the hollyhock is a native of Asia and southern Europe and is a tall plant producing numerous large flowers in many tints of red, white, yellow and purple close to the main stalk. Hollyhocks more than twenty-five feet tall have been grown.