Flowers fugacious, usually large. Sepals and petals usually 5. Stamens numerous. Ovary usually 1-celled, with 3 parietal placentae. Style 1. Stigmas 3. Herbs or shrubs, often fragrant and resinous.

Helianthemum L

Sepals 3-5, the 2 outer usually smaller. Petals 5, crumpled in the bud. Ovoles numerous. Style jointed at the base. Stigma capitate or 3-lobed. Leaves opposite.

About 35 species, chiefly spread over Southern and Western Europe and N. Africa, with a few in America.

Helianthemum Alpestre Dunal

Shrubby, about 6 inches high, woody at the base. Branches ascending. Leaves opposite, lanceolate, narrowed at the base, more or less hairy, shortly stalked, without stipules. Racemes loose, bracteate. Petals golden yellow, twice as long as calyx. Style as long as the ovary.

Stony Alpine and sub-alpine pastures, especially on limestone, extending to 8200 feet. June to August.


Alps, Apennines, Southern France, Spain, and Portugal.

Helianthemum Canum Baumg

A rather shrubby prostrate plant, covered with silky hairs, especially on the younger leaves, which are elliptical, sometimes silver-white on the upper side and covered with a grey felt on the under side. Flowers small, yellow. Racemes numerous and short, with small bracts at the base of the pedicels.

Stony, hilly districts, especially in the forest region. May to August.


Central, Western, and S.-Western Europe from Southern Sweden to Spain. In Switzerland only on the Jura frontier and Valais. On limestone rocks rarely in N.-W. England and Ireland.

Helianthemum Apenninum Lam. Et Dc. (H. Polifolium Dc)

A shrubby plant about 6 inches to a foot high, with woody base, and less straggling habit than H. vulgare. Leaves narrow, rolled back at the edges, hoary on both sides but especially beneath. Flowers white, with yellow eye. Capsule large, sub-globular, tomentose. Seeds numerous, granular.

Dry, stony limestone hills, local. May, June.


South, Western, and parts of Central Europe, rare in Switzerland (near Geneva and Locarno, etc.), Algeria. In England on Brean Down, Somerset, and near Torquay.

Helianthemum Vulgare Gaertn., H. Chamaecistus Miller. Common Rock-Rose. (Plate XL)

A low undershrub, with short, much-branched, woody stem, and annual flowering branches from 3-10 inches long. Leaves shortly stalked, more or less oblong, but varying from ovate *to lanceolate, glabrous or slightly hairy, and more or less hoary beneath. Stipules linear-lanceolate. Racemes loose, the pedicels deflected. The 3 larger sepals marked with 3 prominent ribs, the 2 outer very small. Petals bright yellow, broadly spreading. Very polymorphic.

Dry pastures and fields, from the plains to a considerable distance in the mountains. Above 8500 feet on the Col de Torrent, Switzerland, in 1911. Very common. May to August.


Nearly all Europe, Western Asia. England and Eastern Scotland, but apparently in Ireland only as a casual.