Cistus (from the Greek "Kistos") is a genus of flowering plants in the rockrose family Cistaceae, containing about 20 species (Ellul et al. 2002). They are perennial shrubs found on dry or rocky soils throughout the Mediterranean region, from Morocco and Portugal through to the Middle East, and also on the Canary Islands.
Together with its many hybrids and cultivars is commonly encountered as a garden flower.
The common name rockrose is applied to the species, a name also shared by the related genera Halimium, Helianthemum and Tuberaria, all in the family Cistaceae. The common name gum cistus is applied to resin bearing species, especially C. ladanifer.
The leaves are evergreen, opposite, simple, usually slightly rough-surfaced, 2–8 cm long; in a few species (notably C. ladanifer), the leaves are coated with a highly aromatic resin called labdanum.
They have showy 5-petaled flowers ranging from white to purple and dark pink, in a few species with a conspicuous dark red spot at the base of each petal.
There are about 20 species in the genus:
- Cistus albanicus
- Cistus albidus
- Cistus chinamadensis
- Cistus clusii
- Cistus creticus
- Cistus crispus
- Cistus heterophyllus
- Cistus incanus
- Cistus ladanifer – Gum Rockrose
- Cistus laurifolius
- Cistus libanotis
- Cistus monspeliensis – Montpelier Cistus
- Cistus munbyi
- Cistus osbeckiaefolius
- Cistus parviflorus
- Cistus populifolius
- Cistus psilosepalus
- Cistus salviifolius – Salvia Cistus
- Cistus symphytifolius
- Cistus varius