Alcea rosea ( syn. Althaea chinensis Wall., Althaea ficifolia Cav., Althaea rosea Cav.) is an ornamental plant in the Malvaceae family. William Turner, a herbalist of the time, gave it the name "holyoke" from which the English name derives.The flowers are a range of colours from white to dark red, including pink, yellow and orange. Different colours prefer different soils.In herbal medicine, Hollyhock is believed to be an emollient and laxative.