Polish Witcher Trivia #3 – Alceas and their role in Poland's rural landscape

FeatureApr 7, 2017 at 6:00a PSTby Michal Manka

Polish Witcher Trivia #3 – Alceas and their role in Poland's rural landscape

It's high time we moved from literature to something else! Although you might not be too excited when I tell you that this week's topic touches upon gardening, it's worth reading on.

It’s time for our bi-weekly Geralt of Trivia… See what I did there, dear readers? If you didn’t, let me remind you what’s the idea behind the series. There are some easter eggs and references in quests, dialogues, characters or world design that only Poles will notice (since CD Projekt Red is a Polish developer, duh). My goal is to explain these things to you. We’ve already covered Brunwich and its importance in Polish literature, and how the plot of Hearts of Stone resembles a famous poem by Adam Mickiewicz, Twardowski’s Wife. This time we go wild – let’s take a look at a flower called alcea (Polish: malwa), which is seen all over the Witcher world and find out why it’s important to Polish culture.

That’s alcea – the main hero of this week’s Polish Witcher Trivia. - 2017-04-07
That’s alcea – the main hero of this week’s Polish Witcher Trivia.

I don’t know much about gardening or flowers, so I asked Professor Wikipedia for help with this one: Alcea, commonly known as hollyhocks is a genus of about 60 species of flowering plants in the mallow family Malvaceae. Hollyhocks are annual, biennial or perennial plants usually taking an erect, unbranched form. The herbage usually has a coating of star-shaped hairs. The leaf blades are often lobed or toothed, and are borne on long petioles. The flowers may be solitary or arranged in fascicles or racemes. The notched petals are usually over three centimeters wide and may be pink, white, purple, or yellow. The fruit is a schizocarp, a dry disc divided into over 15 sections that contain seeds.

These flowers are present near villages in the Witcher world – you can spot them mostly in the White Orchard, as well as all over Velen and No Man’s Land. Alceas are an iconic piece of every Polish rural landscape, and obviously they made their way into the virtual world. Below you can see two screenshots taken in the game showing these beauties.

But why are these flowers so meaningful to Poles? Well, there were numerous famous painters who put alceas in their works – people like Stanislaw Wyspianski (whom you already know, because he’s the author of the drama The Wedding that I mentioned in the first part of our trivia) or Jan Stanislawski. Alceas were not only background elements of paintings, but also the main focus of a number of masterpieces. Below you will find some examples from Polish culture.

Jacek Lacki – Dworek w malwach (Mansion surrounded by alceas) - 2017-04-07
Jacek Lacki – Dworek w malwach (Mansion surrounded by alceas)
Henryk Uziemblo – Malwy przed dworkiem (Alceas in front of a mansion)
Henryk Uziemblo – Malwy przed dworkiem (Alceas in front of a mansion)
Wilhelm Kotarbinski – Dziewczyna w malwach (A girl surrounded by alceas)
Wilhelm Kotarbinski – Dziewczyna w malwach (A girl surrounded by alceas)

So that’s it for Polish Witcher Trivia part 3. It not may be a groundbreaking easter egg, but it’s definitely something that shows how much attention to detail CD Projekt RED paid during the world creation process. Even though this is something that even many Polish people could have missed. If you want to catch up on the previous parts of Polish Witcher Trivia, the links are posted below. Until then – stay safe on the Path!

  1. Polish Witcher Trivia #1 – Brunwich and its significance for Polish literature
  2. Polish Witcher Trivia #2 – Hearts of Stone and its plot built around a Polish legend