Cistus libanotis is a dwaf, evergreen shrub growing around 30cm tall with branches that can be 80 - 120cm long[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine. It is a hyperaccumulator of lead and so can be used to remediate lead-polluted soils, and it is also grown as an ornamental in gardens, where it can be used as a ground cover.
Mediterranean region - Portugal, Spain
Sandy soils in Pine and Oak forests near the coasts, occasionally found further inland, preferring the sandy soils of older dunes; at elevations up to 100 metres.
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Cistus libanotis is native to the Mediterranean region, with its hot, dry summers and cool, moist winters. The genus is not very hardy outside the milder regions of the temperate zone, this species being able to tolerate winter temperatures dipping occasionally to around -8°c so long as the soil is fairly dry[
]. A covering of bracken or leafy branches in severe weather is a help, and will often save plants that would otherwise perish[
]. Plants are also somewhat hardier when grown in poor soils[
Cistus species generally grow best in a sunny position in a well-drained light sandy soil[
]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[
Plants are apt to be short-lived[
Individual flowers only last one day but there is a long succession of them over several weeks[
The flowers are very attractive to bees.
Dislikes pruning or root disturbance[
]. Plants should be pot grown and then planted out in their final positions whilst still small[
Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[
In cultivation, Cistus species will often hybridize freely with other members of the genus[
This species is closely related to Cistus clusii[
Cistus species form ectomychorrizal roots, developing symbiotic relationships with various mychorrizal fungal species, mainly belonging to the genus Lactarius[
]. This relationship aids the plants in water and nutrient uptake often helping the host plant to survive adverse conditions whilst, in exchange, the fungal symbiont is provided with access to carbohydrates.
A decoction of the leaves is used as a treatment for diarrhoea[
We have no further specific information for this species, but various of the species in this genus are used in traditional medicine in the Mediterranean to treat a range of conditions including colds and fevers; digestive problems and diarrhoea; skin diseases; rheumatism and other inflammatory diseases[
Research has shown that Cistus species contain a wealth of medicinally active compounds such as terpenoids (including diterpenes, labdane-type diterpenes and clerodanes); phenylpropanoids (including flavonoids and ellagitannins); several groups of alkaloids; and other types of secondary metabolites[
Considerable research has been carried out into the properties of these compounds - the following are some that apply to this species
Preparations of Cistus libanotis aqueous extracts were able to generate strong antioxidant activities in a dose-dependent manner, using several free radical scavenging methods[
An excellent, medium-height groundcover plant for a sunny bank[
When growing on soils containing lead, the plant quickly accumulates lead in its aerial parts. The accumulation of lead is higher than the medium on which it is growing, defining this species as a hyperaccumulator and making it potentially useful for remediating lead-polluted soils[
Seed - gather when ripe and store dry[
]. Surface sow in late winter in a greenhouse[
]. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 4 weeks at 20°c[
]. Seeds in the wild are more likely to germinate following a forest fire[
], so it could be worth giving the seedlings heat treatment by placing a small amount of fast-burning flammable material on top of them and then allowing it to burn for perhaps 20 - 30 seconds[
]. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle into individual pots. Grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out the in the following spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts[
]. The seed stores for at least 3 years[
Cuttings of softish to half-ripe wood, 8cm long with a heel or at a node, early to late summer in a frame. Roots are formed within 3 weeks[
]. High percentage[
Cuttings of almost mature wood, 8 - 12cm with a heel or at a node, early to mid autumn in a frame. High percentage[
]. Lift and pot up in the spring, plant out when a good root system has formed[
Layering in spring.