Variegated lighthouse keeper’s toilet paper

Lavatera arborea variegata (variegated tree mallow*) is a great edimental, a tall perennial with edible young leaves and flowers. Unfortunately not very hardy, being a species mainly found on the coasts of Europe. I remember seeing it for the first time at one of the seabird colonies in the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh (Isle of May?). It’s a spreading species today, presumably as it’s not used for fodder as it used to be! I’ve overwintered it and kept it alive for several years by moving it into my dark, cold cellar in autumn!

*I prefer to call it “Variegated lighthouse keeper’s toilet paper”, one of its alternative uses ;-)

 

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Malva alcea flowers in front
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The variegation varies with age and season.
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Attractive edible flowers
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I dig it up and overwinter in the cellar in earth…
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Tall like runner beans

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Edibles & ornamental plants

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