Cistus, commonly known as Rock Rose, is a genus of about 50 species of evergreen shrubs in the family Cistaceae, mainly native to the Mediterranean region.
Rock Roses produce simple, opposite leaves and five-petaled, bowl-shaped flowers that bloom in shades of white, pink and purple. They are considered low maintenance plants because they are drought tolerant and will hold up very well when not consistently watered. They thrive in dry conditions while providing your garden with texture and color during spring and summer months.
The genus name comes from the Ancient Greek word “kisthos”, which means “basket” or “box”, in reference to the form of the fruits in some species.
The common name “Rock Rose” refers to the similarity of the flowers to old-fashioned Roses, combined with the rocky habitat in which they grow.
Rock Roses symbolize endurance, strength and determination.
These drought tolerant and hardy plants will always survive.
Interesting facts about Cistus
Rock Rose as a Host Plant
Rock Roses and other plants in the same family (Cistaceae) are the only host of Cytinus hypocistis, a small parasitic plant in the family Cytinaceae. Cytinus hypocistis lacks chlorophyll and obtains its nutrition from the host plant. It has no real roots and leaves and is bright red until the flowers open.
Benefits and Uses
Many species have medicinal properties and have been used for the treatment of various ailments including colds, coughs, menstrual problems, skin problems, wounds, diarrhea, dysentery and rheumatism. This plant has strong antiviral properties and helps improve the function of the immune system. It has also antibacterial and antifungal properties that make it useful in healing infections. It slows the aging process offering the body a fresh sense of optimism.
The plant is used in cosmetic and perfume industry. Its essential oil is used for a variety of skin complaints.
Several species have been domesticated as house plants and are used as ornamentals. There are a number of cultivars with a variety of shapes and patterns.
Rock Roses are also used in xeriscaping, a type of landscaping that reduces the need for supplemental watering.
Cistus Plant Data
The flowers come in shades of purple, pink and white.
Rock Rose can grow up to 4 m (13 ft) in height, depending on species. Cistus ladanifer, also known as Gum Cistus, can reach a height of 4 m (13 ft), but is more commonly 1 to 2 m (3 to 6 ft) tall.
Cistus will grow in almost any soil that is well-drained and will tolerate a wide pH range. The plant is drought tolerant and thrives in poor and moderately fertile soil.