Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Cistus, a genus of shrubs, natives of Southern Europe, North Africa and the Canaries, which gives its name to the order Cistaceae. They have opposite simple lanceolate leaves and handsome rose-like but fugacious flowers which only open in sunshine. They have five sepals, five petals, indefinite stamens and a capsule imperfectly divided into five or ten chambers. This last character distinguishes the genus from our wild Helianthemum, or rock-rose, in which there are only three partitions. C. creticus, with purple petals having a yellow spot at their base, and C. ladaniferus, a native of Spain and Portugal, with white flowers with a purple spot, yield the balsamic oleo-resin labdanum, used in fumigation. Many other species of "Gum Cistus" are grown in our gardens.