Cistus monspeliensis - Narrow-leaved Cistus

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Malvales - Family: Cistaceae

/Cistus monspeliensis, Narrow-leaved Cistus

This attractive wildflower can be seen in many parts of the Mediterranean region.


Narrow-leaved Cistus, a member of the Rock-rose family, is one of the commonest of several types of Cistus that occur in the Mediterranean Region. The beautiful white flowers, each with five petals, occur in groups of up to eight. Like most other Cistus flowers the petals are somewhat crumpled in appearance. The narrow, lanceolate leaves are a clear distinguishing feature; they are a darkish green and have wrinkled upper surfaces..


Cistus monspeeliensis is native to Mediterranean countries including Portugal, Spain, southern France, Italy and eastwards throughout most of former Yugoslavia and into Turkey. Its range extends southwards to parts of North Africa.


This shrub favours dry, rocky places in the maquis and barrocal.


The specific epithet monspeliensis means 'of Montpellier, in southern France.

Related species

Along with other Cistus shrubs, Narrow-leaved Cistus is parasitised by a strange-looking plant called Cytinus hypocistis,which appears from mid April until June growing on the roots of the bushes.

Similar species

Other types of cistus that appear in the Mediterranean region include Cistus ladanifer (Gum Cistus) and Cistus albidus (Grey-leaved Cistus).

The specimens shown here were photographed during May in the Algarve, southern Portugal, where this plant flowers from March through until the end of June.

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