The flowering plant known as the hollyhock (Alcea spp) does not have anything to do with modern meanings of the words holly (Ilex spp) and hock. It contrastingly has everything to do with:
• being holy;
• numbering among the mauve-colored members of the mallow family Malvaceae.
Its etymology is connected with the Middle English term holihoc, whose origins appear to trace back to the fifteenth century.
Linguists know of holi as an alternate spelling of today’s holy. They link hoc with the Old English term of the fifth to twelfth centuries for marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis). The Eurasian herbaceous native’s presence indeed may result from holy happenings and individuals in “How Hollyhocks Came to New Mexico.”