Cistus L.

(incl. Halimium (Dun.) Spach)

In its broadened circumscription, i.e. after inclusion of Halimium, Cistus counts 29 species in the Mediterranean area and Macaronesia. Demoly (2006) advocated to unite both genera and his point of view is followed in modern floras, e.g. in Flora Gallica (Tison & de Foucault 2014). The existence of several natural occurring hybrids between these genera (“×Halimiocistus Janchen”) already suggested a close relationship. Molecular data (e.g. Guzmán & Vargas 2005) also demonstrated that both genera form a cohesive, natural group.

Both Cistus and Halimium are popular in horticulture. Numerous species, hybrids and cultivars are cultivated as ornamentals, especially for the rock garden. A very useful account for these genera in cultivation is provided by Cullen & al. (1997). As a result of artificial crossings and selection, species boundaries blurred in some species groups. One of the cultivated species, Cistus lasianthus Lam. (syn.: Halimium lasianthum (Lam.) Spach), has been recorded in the wild in Belgium.

Interesting additional information on Cistus, including numerous photos and an extended bibliography, is available at the ‘Cistus & Halimium Website’ at A complete bibliography on both genera is provided by Mouline (s.d.).


Cullen J. & al. (eds.) (1997) The European Garden Flora, vol. 5. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Demoly J.-P. (1998) Notes taxonomiques sur le nothogenre xHalimiocistus Janch. (Cistaceae). J. Bot. Soc. Bot. France 6: 31-38.

Demoly J.-P. (2006) Notes taxonomiques, chorologiques et nouveautés nomenclaturales pour le genre Cistus L. élargi, incluant Halimium (Dunal) Spach (Cistaceae). Acta Bot. Gallica 153(3): 309-323.

Grosser W. (1903) Cistaceae. In Engler A. (ed.), Das Pflanzenreich. 14 (IV.193) [available online at:]

Guzmán B. & Vargas P. (2005) Systematics, character evolution, and biogeography of Cistus L. (Cistaceae) based on ITS, trnL-trnF, and matK sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37: 644-660. [available online at:]

Heywood V.H. (1968) Cistaceae. In: Tutin T.G. & al. (eds.), Flora Europaea, vol. 2. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 282-292.

Jiménez Albarrán M.J. (1982) Taxonomía del género Halimium. Universidad Complutense de Madrid: 330 p.

Jiménez Albarrán M.J. (1985) Contribucion al estudio de las semillas del género Halimium (Dun.) Spach (Cistaceae). Collect. Bot. 16(1): 67-76. [available online at:]

McMillan Browse P. (1993) Some halimiums and their relatives. An underused group of rock roses. The Plantsman 14(4): 200-203.

Mouline C. (s.d.) Bibliographie sur les genres Cistus L. et Halimium (Dunal) Spach (Cistaceae). Available online at:]

Muñoz Garmendia F. & Navarro C. (1993) Cistaceae. In: Castroviejo S. & al. (eds.), Flora Iberica, vol. 3. Real Jardín Botánico, Madrid: 318-436. [available online at:]

Tison J.-M. & de Foucault B. (coord.) 2014) Flora Gallica. Flore de France. Editions Biotope, Mèze : xx + 1196 p.

Taxonomic name: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith