Althea officinalis - A traditional perennial herb and food plant, usage date back to Ancient Egypt. Leaves are soft green with gently ruffled edges. Grows in medium-sized clumps with multi-stems to 4 feet tall. The flowers are a pale luminous white/purple, shaped like small saucers. The leaves and especially the roots are full of mucilage, which is very soothing to lung, throat, and digestive problems. The large tender yellow roots have been used as food for hundreds of years. The leaves are also used externally as a poultice to soothe skin. Can grow in damp conditions. Seeds have very hard coats, germination can be encouraged by soaking in water for a few hours or using sandpaper to gently scratch the surface. You can have success without these measures, plant in early spring, ¼ inch deep, and keep moist.