South Europe is the home of the cistus incanus bush which has a pink-red blossom. Its aromatic and resinous scent lies over the typical macchia countryside with its low and dense expanses of bushes at harvesting time in the spring. Here, in one of the sunniest regions of Europe, the bush which loves heat and light prefers to grow on ground which is uncultivated and rich in magnesium.
The grey-haired cistus played a central role in some areas of Greece until the 1960’s: in summer and winter alike, the bitter tea was held in high regard as a thirst quencher and as a drink for relaxing after a strenuous day.
Although Cistus incanus grows in a lot of southern European areas, it seems that the tea was only drunken in some areas of Greece and not in Crete, Turkey or Italy. The reason might be that identical plants have very different attributes in different location .
Most Cistaceae have the ability to create symbiotic relationship with root fungi. These fungi assis the root system in absorbing water and minerals from the soil, and thus allows the host plant to dwell on particularly poor soils.
For those wanting to cultivate truffles: rockroses can to create mycorrhizal relation with truffle mushroom.
The leaves of some rockrose species produce a highly aromatic resin known as labdanum.This sticky liquid has long been used in herbal medicine and as an ingredient in perfumes. In some countries, an infusion of the leaves is used to treat diarrhoea.
Cistus species are used as anti-diarrhetics, as general remedies for treatment of various skin diseases in folk medicine and as anti-inflammatory agents.
This fast-growing evergreen shrub stands up to heat, strong winds, salt spray and drought without complaint, and once established it needs very little care.
Plant the shrubs in a location with full sun and deep soil where they can put down spreading roots. They grow in almost any type of soil as long as it drains freely, including poor soils where other shrubs struggle to take hold. Rockrose plants are hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 through 11.