Alcea, commonly known as hollyhock, is a genus of some 60 or so flowering plants, most native to south and central Asia, within the family malvacea. Alcea rosea is the common hollyhock, which has been selected for a range of vibrant colors - and, as above, pure white. The plant is drought-tolerant and has a deep tap-root.
On occasion, we've collected hollyhock seed from various places and distributed it in our garden. They germinate untended and produce vigorous biennial plants. We let them grow where they choose, within limits. A sequence of very long interval photographs would show them moving across the garden landscape like stick-figures year after year.
The colors are completely unpredictable. This year we have white, pink, and red. We've had a black (actually a very dark purple) but it has not made a recent appearance. The flowers are frequently visited by hummingbirds and butterflies.
The plant is edible. The flower buds are good gently sauteed and the petals can be used in salads. Although we've not tried it, the leaves are reportedly used in Egyptian cuisine.