The Malva Pages:
Malva 'Parkallee' &c

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Malva 'Park Allee' gallery


There is a group of related double-flowered mallows known as Malva 'Parkallee' (commonly anglicised as 'Park Allee'), Malva 'Parkfrieden' and Malva 'Parkrondell' (sometimes anglicised as 'Park Rondel'). The flowers of 'Park Allee' are cream-flowered; those of 'Parkfrieden' apricot-flowered; and those of 'Parkrondell' a pale purple. There was a fourth variety, Malva 'Parktraum', which may have been lost [1]. A more recent variety, Malva 'Freedom', may be a pink-flowered sport of 'Parkallee'.


These plants have been variously referred to Malva, Malva alcea, Malva sylvestris, Alcea, Alcea × Althaea, Althaea × Alcea and Lavatera, and I have been told that they are Kitaibelia vitifolia× Alcea rosea. The correct identity is not perfectly clear, but it seems fairly certain that they are not correctly placed in Lavatera or Malva. A paper which appears to describe their breeding identifies them as Alcea (rosea × biennis) × Althaea officinalis. (Alcea biennis is correctly known as Alcea pallida.)

"Later we crossed the wild Althaea officinalis (in many cases growing as a herb) with our Alcea hybrids. Their flowers are intermediate-sized between the little-flowered Althaea and the big-flowered Alcea. The colours of their flowers are intermediate, too. They have pastel-coloured flowers. Their height is close to 2 metres. The most important characteristic of them is rust-resistance and being of perennial. They must be propagated in vegetative way because of their sterility." [2]

Confirmation of their identity from morphology is made difficult by their being double (which means that we can't use the androecial morphology for identification) and sterile (which means that we can't use the fruit morphology).

The epicalyx is composed of ten fused triangular bracteoles, and the style arms and stigmas are filiform. These features point at Alcea and Althaea, and perhaps Kitaibelia, as genera possibly involved in its parentage. The purple anthers are characteristic of Althaea section Althaea (or Althaeastrum). However the plant as a whole is not a close match for any species in that group. Hence it is deduced that it is a hybrid with at least one parent within this group.

The tomentose, triangular, 3-lobed leaves recall Althaea officinalis, rather than Althaea armeniaca or Althaea cannabina, so it is likely that the first species is one of the parents. However it is clearly not a variety of Althaea officinalis, differing from it as follows

Alcea rosea, which is also common in cultivation, is genetically fairly close to Althaea, and has fertile double-flowered forms. Some strains of cultivated hollyhock (e.g. 'Silver Puffs', 'Majorette') are of hybrid origiin, the other parent being Althaea pallida. [2]


It appears that these plants were originally raised in Hungary, and propagated in East Germany, from whence they were released into the horticultural trade.


{short description of image}"Malva" 'Park Allee' appears to be a subshrub, producing new shoots in the spring from near the base of the old stems. This differs from both Althaea officinalis, with its ground level resting buds, and Alcea rosea, which typically produces new stems at ground level; nor is it intermediate between the two species. The stems are initially green and softly hairy, in which they match Althaea officinalis; however they are thicker, but less strong, in which they agree with Alcea rosea. They become glabrous in age.

The leaves are similiar to those of Althaea officinalis in being tomentose, roughly triangular in outline, with three forward pointing lobes. However they are thicker, in which they are similar to Alcea rosea.

The flowers have an epicalyx of 10 fused bracteoles. The epicalyx is initially valvate in aestivation, but is less persistently so than Alcea rosea. (Lavatera thuringiaca and Malva wigandii also have epicalyxes valvate early in aestivation). The bracteoles are circa 1 cm long. The calyx and corolla are 5-merous. The sepals are circa 1.5 cm long, and tomentose. The petals are circa 4 cm long, and cream in colour. They overlap spirally and broadly to form a corolla with a near circular outline. The androecium shows a continuum from petaloid staminodes differing from the petals only in being smaller and narrower, through similar staminodes bearing anthers at their apices and ligulate, anther-bearing staminodes to normal stamens; the full range is not always shown in every flower. These structures are borne in 5 distinct columns. (Malope trifida also bears stamens in 5 distinct columns.) The gynoecium has 15-20 style arms, with filiform stigmas. The ovary, as seen after the corolla, etc., has fallen away, is shallowly 5-lobed. It seems to me that each lobe is composed of several locules. This could be interpreted as intermediate between the verticillate schizocarps of most mallows, and the capitate schizocarps of Kitaibelia vitifolia and a few other species.

Malva 'Parkrondell', flower"Malva" 'Park Rondell' has pale purple flowers. Its staminodes uniformly lack anthers, and are all ligulate.

Sports do occur. I have seen a photograph of a 'Parkrondel'-like sport of 'Parkallee'. I have also seen similar sports, affecting a few petals, on my own plants of 'Parkallee'.


  1. J.L. Sharman, pers. comm.
  2. Z. Kováts and K. Karip-Szabö, The Use of Hungarian Wild Plants in the Ornamental Plant Breeding, Acta Hort.612: 172-173


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