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genus Cistus flowering plants of the family Cistaceae (Rockrose)


Cistus Laurifolius — Laurel-leaved Cistus. This is the hardiest species in cultivation, but, like the latter, is favourable to the milder parts of these islands, and especially maritime districts. Frequently it rises to seven feet in height, and is then an object of great beauty, the large yellowish-white flowers showing well above the deep green Laurel-like leaves.

Cistus Salvifolius is of loose and rather untidy growth, with rugose leaves and white flowers. It is very variable in character, and the form generally cultivated grows about four feet high, and has ovate-lanceolate, almost glabrous leaves.

Cistus Crispus — A distinct species, with curled leaves, and large reddish-purple flowers. It is a valuable ornamental shrub, but, like the others, suffers from the effects of frost.

Cistus Ladaniferus — Gum Cistus. A pretty but rather tender shrub, growing in favourable situations to about four feet in height. It has lanceolate leaves that are glutinous above, and thickly covered with a whitish tomentum on the under sides, and large and showy vhite flowers with a conspicuous purple blotch at the base of each petal. Unless in southern and western England, but particularly on the sea-coast, this handsome Portuguese shrub is not to be depended on, in so far as hardihood is concerned.

Cistus Monspeliensis and its variety Cistus monspeliensis florentinus, the former with white, and the latter with white and yellow flowers, are fairly hardy in the milder parts of Britain, but cannot be recommended for general planting.

Cistus Purpureus — Purple-flowered Cistas. In this species, which may rank next to the latter in point of hardihood, the flowers are of a deep reddish-purple, and with a darker blotch at the base of each petal.

Other species that are occasionally to be found in collections are Cistus creticus, with yellow and purple flowers; Cistus hirsutus, white with yellow blotches at the base of the petals; and Cistus Clusii, with very large pure-white flowers. All the species of Gum Cistus, or Rock Rose as they are very appropriately named, will be found to succeed best when planted in exalted positions, and among light, though rich, strong soil. They are easy of propagation.