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 Formosus. Beautiful Cistus
Cor. 5-petala. Cal. 5-phyllus, foliolis duobus minoribus. Capsula.
Mr. Lee, Nurseryman of Hammersmith, informs me, that in the year 1780, he raised the Cistus here figured from seeds, the produce of Portugal, and as its flowers were uncommonly beautiful, he was induced to name it formosus.
It approaches so near to the Cistus halimifolius in point of habit, in the form and colour of its leaves and flowers, that we are inclined rather to regard it as a variety of that plant, than as a distinct species; at the same time it must be allowed to be a very striking variety, the flowers being at least thrice as large as those of the halimifolius usually are, and the whole plant more hairy: as an ornamental shrub, it is highly deserving a place in all curious collections.
It will grow very well in the open border in warm sheltered situations, it may be kept also in a pot, by which means it may more readily be sheltered during the winter, either in the greenhouse or under a frame.
It flowers early in May, and may be increased by cuttings.