Herb: Lavatera

Latin name: Lavatera thuringiaca

Synonyms: Lavatera olbia

Family: Malvaceae (Mallow Family)

Edible parts of Lavatera:

Young leaves - raw or cooked. A mild flavour, but the leaves are tough and not very worthwhile. Leaves of the cultivar "Barnsley" are less tough and are reasonably tasty, a plant at Kew had also produced quite a few leaves in the winter and so it is a potential winter salad. Flowers - raw. A pleasant mild flavour, they make a decorative addition to the salad bowl. Many named cultivars have considerably larger flowers than the type species and are thus much more worthwhile for the salad bowl.

Description of the plant:


180 cm
(6 feet)

Habitat of the herb:

Hills, thickets and waysides, by streams to 2800 metres.

Other uses of Lavatera:

A strong fibre is obtained from the stems, it is used for making string, bags, paper etc.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually quick and good. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in early summer. Basal cuttings in spring. Cuttings of softwood in June/July.

Cultivation of Lavatera:

Hills, thickets and waysides, by streams to 2800 metres.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Lavatera thuringiaca:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.