Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Cistus hirsutus Lam.

Frost hardy, mound-forming shrub with dense branches, elliptic, dark green leaves covered with long white hairs, and terminal cymes of 3-8 white flowers, 4cm across, in summer.  To 1m.  [RHSE. Hortus, Hilliers’].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘This pretty plant is a native of Spain, and some other parts of the South of Europe, and is readily distinguished from all others by its very large pyramidal calyx and small capsules; it is often confused with C. laxus in the nurseries; but a comparison of our figures will readily distinguish them.  The present plant is hardy enough to bear our Winters in the open borders without protection, except very severe ones, when a mat placed round it will preserve it well; but this is very seldom needed: when grown in the ground it is much more robust than the plant from which our drawing was made, which was grown in a pot; it produces a great profusion of flowers, which continue to expand in succession for a considerable time.

Our drawing was taken at the Nursery of Messrs. Whitley, Brames, and Milne, at Fulham, last Summer, where we have also obtained drawings of many very rare, and some quite new species: the present plant thrives well in the common garden soil; or if grown in pots, it succeeds best in a mixture of sandy loam and peat.  Young cuttings, planted under hand-glasses in August or September, or any time between that and the middle of February, will strike root freely; when they are rooted, they must be managed as mentioned under C. purpureus; young plants may also be raised from seeds, which ripen plentifully.’  [Sweet – Cistinae t.19/1825-30].

Introduced to England in 1656.  [JD].

History at Camden Park

Listed only in the 1857 catalogue [T.315/1857].


Cistus hirsutus Lapeyr. (1813) = Helianthemum polymorphum Pourr. ex Willk. 

Published Mar 08, 2009 - 04:15 PM | Last updated Mar 03, 2010 - 03:25 PM

Figured is a shrub with hairy, elliptic, deep green leaves and white salverform flowers.  Cistinae t.19, 1825-30.

Cistus hirsutus Lam. | Robert Sweet – Cistinae t.19/1825-30 | BHL

Family Cistaceae
Region of origin

South west Europe

  • Cistus psilosepalus Sweet
Common Name

Rock rose, Sun rose

Name in the Camden Park Record

Cistus hirsutus

Confidence level high