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Plant Profile: Sun Rose (Cistus ladanifer)

cistus-ladaniferAlso known a rock rose and gum cistus, this flowering evergreen shrub is native to the western Mediterranean region. It is a member of the Cistaceae family, a small group of shrubs and semi shrubs that do well in dry, sunny locations with poor soil. The whole plant contain a sticky resin called labdanum that is fragrant and scents the air when the sun shines hot upon it. Labdanum has been used from ancient times to sweet the air and is still used in cosmetics, aromatherapy, and potpourri. In early to mid-summer the fragrant flowers appear each up to four inches across. They have five tissue-thin white petals, usually with a deep red spot at the base, and a mass of golden stamens in the center. The dark green leaves are fragrant, lance-shaped, and one to four inches long . Plants need a protected place and do not like to be transplanted but tolerate drought and maritime conditions.

Type: Flowering deciduous shrub

Outstanding Feature: Fragrance of stems and leaves; flowers

Form: Lax mound

Growth Rate: Rapid

Bloom: Four inch white flowers with deep red blotch and golden stamens in early andmid-summer

Size: 4-5’ H x 4-5’ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Average to lean, dry to moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 8-10

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed, softwood, greenwood, or semi-ripe cuttings from mid-summer until autumn

Outstanding Selections: C. ladanifer var. albiflorus (lacks red blotch)