Herbaceous, North American perennial
Description: Large, light pink, hollyhock-like flowers with rose-colored centers; blooms in mid- to late-summer
Habit: Grows 5-7 feet high and 4-5 feet wide; upright habit
Culture: Prefers full sun to light shade and moderately moist, fertile soil
Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 through 9
Origin: North America
Attributes: Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, rain garden, deer resistant
This large perennial occurs naturally in low and wet places over much of North America. It was first introduced into Great Britain around 1800 and was listed by Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon in the 1806 edition of The American Gardeners Calendar. Halberd, the name for a 15th century weapon consisting of battle-ax and pike mounted on a six-foot handle, was given to describe the spear-shaped triangular leaves on its tall, straight stems. Other common names include Soldier or Military Rose Mallow. In 1851, Boston-based garden writer Joseph Breck recommended it as a "fine species."