Glamis tou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be
Waht thou are promis'd. Yet do I fear they nature;
It is too full o' th' milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great;
Art not without ambition, but without
The illness should attend it. What thou wouldst highly,
That wouldst thou holily; wouldst no play false,
And yet wouldst wrongly win.
Macbeth, William Shakespeare, 1564-1616
While we think of the Hollyhock as the most English of plants, it was imported from its native China in the 16th century. The Chinese consider it the symbol of fruitfulness, hence its meaning.
The Hollyhock is easy to grow. It quickly became popular in England. Since its leaves were used to cure horses' swollen heels it was initially known as Horseleaf. People wrongly attributed it origin to the Holy Land so it came to be known as the Hollyhock.
The tall, pastel blooms swaying at the back of English cottage gardens came to symbolize female abmbition.