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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - March 30, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Are Texas mallows the source of marshmallows?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Did marshmallows that we eat originate from our native Texas mallow plants?

ANSWER:

No, but you're on the right track!  The origin of marshmallows as we know them today is not known with certainty, but the source is believed to be Althaea officinalis, Marsh mallow or Common marsh-mallow, a native of Africa and Europe.  The pith of this plant, mixed with sugar and cooked, was used in early marshmallow recipes.

 

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