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Cistus crispus L.

Modern name

Cistus crispus L.

A compact, bushy shrub 2 ft high, much-branched; young shoots clothed with long white hairs. Leaves sessile, lance-shaped to narrowly oblong or ovate or oval, 12 to 112 in. long, 14 to 12 in. wide, pointed, three-nerved at the base, margins (especially of the lower leaves) much undulated; both surfaces rough through the deeply impressed veins, and densely coated with starry down. Flowers purplish red, about 112 in. diameter, crowded in a terminal head, supplemented by smaller ones on short axillary branches; each flower is on a very hairy stalk, so short that it is almost hidden in the bracts; sepals five, ovate or lance-shaped, long-pointed, hairy. Bot. Mag., t. 9306.

Native of S.W. Europe and N. Africa; said to have been introduced to England in 1656. It is one of the comparatively hardy species, and will survive moderately cold winters. Its short-stalked, richer red flowers, narrow, long-pointed sepals, and wavy-margined leaves distinguish it from the nearest ally, C. albidus.

C. × crispatus Warb. – An artificial hybrid between C. crispus and C. creticus first raised at Antibes by Bornet. Sir Oscar Warburg had a form (from a repetition of the cross, also made at Antibes) which was a very attractive spreading shrub, with flowers of a good pink.

C. (crispus × palhinhae) ‘Anne Palmer’. – This cistus was raised by Capt. Collingwood Ingram, who in 1960 received for it the Reginald Cory Memorial Cup – an award given for the best man-made hybrid of the year (Journ. R.H.S., Vol. 86, March 1961, fig. 39).



Other species in the genus