This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Cistus Ladaniferus. Gum Cistus.
Corolla 5-petala. Calyx 5-phyllus: foliolis duobus minoribus. Capsula.
CISTUS ladaniferus arborescens ex stipulatus, foliis lanceolatis supra laevibus, petiolis basi coalitis vaginantibus. Linn. Syst. Vegetab. ed. 14. Murr. p. 497.
CISTUS ladanifera Hispanica incana. Bauh. Pin. 467.
CISTUS Ledon. The Gum Cistus or Sweete Holly Rose. Park. Parad. p. 422.
One of the most ornamental hardy shrubs we possess; at once pleasing to the eye, and grateful to the smell; for, as Miller observes, the whole plant in warm weather exudes a sweet glutinous substance, which has a very strong balsamic scent, so as to perfume the circumambient air to a great distance.
Its blossoms, which appear in June and July in great profusion, exhibit a remarkable instance of quickly-fading beauty, opening and expanding to the morning sun, and before night strewing the ground with their elegant remains: as each succeeding day produces new blossoms, this deciduous disposition of the petals, common to the genus, is the less to be regretted.
Is a native of Spain and Portugal, prefers a dry soil and warm sheltered situation, and in very severe seasons requires some kind of covering.
Cultivated 1656, by Mr. John Tradescant, jun. Ait. Hort. Kew.
Is readily increased from cuttings; but Miller remarks, that the best plants are raised from seeds.
Varies with waved leaves, and in having petals without a spot at the base.
Is not the plant from whence the Ladanum of the shops is produced, though affording in warmer countries than ours a similar gum, hence its name of ladanifera is not strictly proper.