Sunday, 8 June 2014

interesting snippets regarding mallows from various online sources


With regards to my first post on Stephen Bax's site:
In my rush to start playing 'Guess the letter',
I had not even properly looked and the drawing to see if it was what I was
assuming it to be which should have been the first step.

On the Question of "Is Malva Officianalis a better fit than Malva Sylvestris,
now I'm looking at them both (Google Picture Search) I'm not sure.
The VM flowers (ignoring the colouring for a moment) seem more like the rounded Marsh Mallow ones not the Heart Shaped Common Mallow ones (although some Marsh Mallow flowers look heart-shared) but the The Colouring on the VM flowers does make the plant quite a good match for most of the photos of the Common Mallow.

If we assume the VM colourist knew what they were doing then the plant cannot be the Marsh Mallow which has White or hint-of-Pinkish flowers in all the photos I've seen.

The VM leaves look more like jagged edged Marsh Mallow leaves whereas some Common Mallow photos show quite rounded leaves)

The roots of both plants seem to grow downwards in photos and not sideways as in the VM drawing although some of the VM roots are growing downwards.
So to sum up, I'm confused. I will try and find pictures in old herbals/manuscripts. I've just found a drawing which shows a very similar root to the VM.{sorry i havent put any links up yet}

Of course it could be another Malva Species or a different plant entirely.
As for the stem splitting in two then joining together - I've never seen that in any real plant. I thought the split may be to the flowering and seed(nutlet?) formation occuring at different times, then I thought it may be to show the method of extracting the mucilage which occurs throughout the plant:

From 'A Modern Herbal' by Mrs. M. Grieve (first published in 1931)
"Lindley states that about a thousand species had been discovered, all of which not only contain much mucilage, but are totally devoid of unwholesome properties."
Marsh Mallow (Althaea officinalis)
"The whole plant, particularly the root, abounds with a mild mucilage, which is emollient to a much greater degree than the common Mallow. The generic name, Althaea, is derived from the Greek, altho (to cure), from its healing properties. The name of the order, Malvaceae, is derived from the Greek, malake (soft), from the special qualities of the Mallows in softening and healing."
"Pliny said: 'Whosoever shall take a spoonful of the Mallows shall that day be free from all diseases that may come to him.' All Mallows contain abundant mucilage, and the Arab physicians in early times used the leaves as a poultice to suppress inflammation."
"MALLOW, BLUE Botanical: Malva sylvestris (LINN.) --Synonym--Common Mallow.
Cattle do not appear to be fond of this plant, every part of which abounds with a mild mucilage."
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
"The use of this species of Mallow has been much superseded by Marsh Mallow, which possesses its valuable properties in a superior degree, but it is still a favourite remedy with country people where Marsh Mallow is not obtainable. The roots are not considered of much value compared with those of the Marsh Mallow, and as a rule the leaves and flowers are used only, mainly externally in fomentations and poultices. The infusion has been a popular remedy for coughs and colds, but the internal use of the leaves has fallen into disuse, giving place to Marsh Mallow root, though they are still employed as a decoction for injection, which, made strong, cures strangury and gravel."
... <end>

no mention of splitting the stem here I know but Malva sylvestris flower/leaf/stem extract is for sale online.
The text entry in the VM is very short,there doesn't seem enough words to go into much detail about the medical uses.
{i have a theory that the first part may be botanical description and
where the plant grows}

My first impressions of the other suggested candidate plants:

GERANIUM - Yes I think the VM plant does look very much like
Geranium sylvaticum (wood cranesbill, woodland geranium)
compare the top-right (unpainted) leaf in the VM with this picture:

See the cranesbill pictures on the link below where this quote appears
"Unlike meadow cranesbill, whose seed-pods droop, wood cranesbill's are erect."
i dont think the leaves of the meadow cranesbill are as good a match for the VM plant
also the flowers have large stamens? which i think the vm artist would have drawn.
the VM plant has tall main stem *does cranesbill*

Potentilla argentea (Hoary Cinquefoil) - Could Be. The Cinquefoils do have medicinal uses.
Even accounting for the slapdash painting the leaves of the VM dont seem as 'regular' to me as the Cinquefoil (five leaves) but the Hoary Cinquefoil's  does look more like the VM than other Cinquefoils.
(from wikipedia Potentila) The flowers are usually yellow, but may be white, pinkish or red. Is this true of the Hoary Cinquefoil.

Parietaria (from wikipedia)
As of November 2013[update], The Plant List accepted only 10 species
did they mean nettles?

alkanna tinctoria (alkanet) VM not multi flowers so close together
stachys officinalis (Betony or woundwort) flowers not like VM
  Wood Betony (Stachys officinalis ) leaves closer but flowers still not like VM

CRC World Dictionary
Geranium mascatense: chakkarpati
Geranium ocellatum: kaphlya,
kaphal, kidi jadi, chyaktu, kaphal, kidi jadi

My Candidate Plant Suggestion:

"Himalayan Cinquefoil (Potentilla argyrophylla var. atrosanguinea), a wonderful small clump with silvery leaves and a bright scarlet-red flower."

potentilla lineata (flowers yellow)
in india: bajardantu, bajardanti , khalepey, rattanjot, samokhil, vajrandanti
in nepal: bajrandanti, kanthamun, rehu
[source of names: CDC World Dictionary of Plant Names - Umberto Quattrocchi.]

Closing Remarks

I think a key to decide the plant is what are those things just below the flowers, the blue 'ruff' and the bud or forming seedpod?, And the root. Also the splitting and rejoining stem. Notice how two of the flower heads are drooping and the rest are pointing upright.The two drooping flowers still have the 'ruff' its not painted and its closer to the petals of the flower, closing or opening but not pulled back like in the upright flowers.
I think what i call the ruff is technically called the Calyx. Yes the
calyx is made up of the individual Sepals (The spiky bits on the ruff).
from wikipedia:
"The number of sepals in a flower is its merosity. Flower merosity is indicative of a plant's classification. The merosity of a eudicot flower is typically four or five. The merosity of a monocot or palaeodicot flower is three, or a multiple of three."

No comments:

Post a Comment