|...THE MARSH MALLOW|
There are spectacular marsh mallows Althea officianallis (in the Hibiscus family), available today (these are for gardens, not for roasting). They are fairly hardy perennials and quite adaptable although they want adequate moisture. I find their 8” flowers overpowering, rather like giant dahlias; fine if one wants a tropical effect, or a very bold statement in the garden, but not otherwise very useful. They are, however, quite beautiful. Those pictured are in the very nice garden at the entrance to the Bayfield boat launch.
The marsh mallow plant is native to Europe and the Middle East and has been used as both a wild and cultivated food source (the roots are edible) and for medicinal purposes (sore throat and similar maladies, also kidney stones) since ancient Roman and Egyptian times. In Europe extracts of the roots mixed with sugar and later egg whites became a popular confection that eventually evolved into the marshmallow we roast over the campfire, which, sadly, has none of the actual mallow extract in its recipe. Like many things in modern life, the marshmallow has been over-improved.