This shrub is distributed almost throughout southern Europe and its name is cistus. This genus of plants includes more than 50 species. All of them, to a greater or lesser extent, have aroma, but only four are used to obtain a fragrant resin and to obtain interspecific hybrids.


Four sources of incense and their hybrids

Cistus(Cistus) - perennial evergreen or semi-evergreen shrubs from the Ladannikovye family of the same name. Cistus leaves and young shoots contain a significant amount of aromatic resin used in a number of perfume compositions. However, the plants themselves differ in size, and their resin is significantly different in quality. Some species have a lot of it, but it is such that no one really needs it. For our country, the issue of winter hardiness is also very painful. It should be said right away that cistus plants are plants of a subtropical climate and they will not grow in a dacha near Moscow, only if in a winter garden. But, nevertheless, these plants deserve to be told in more detail.

The most winter-hardy of them is the Crimean cistus, which contains resin in very different quantities and its quality can also be very different - from one that received a high perfumery rating to unsuitable for use. Its range in Crimea is limited by a narrow strip along the southern coast of Crimea from the city of Alushta to Cape Aya. Occurs in the form of individual plants or small thickets on the southern slopes of the mountains, no higher than 650 m above sea level.

Crimean cistus(Cistustauricus) is a short, highly branched shrub, reaching a height of 0.5-1 m, with pubescent shoots. Leaves are opposite, petiolate, rounded or oblong-spatulate, sometimes elliptical, wrinkled, 2-5 cm long, 1-3 cm wide.The petals are 3.5-4.5 cm long and 0.8 cm wide. plant stocks have decreased significantly. Therefore, it became necessary to create cultural plantings. However, the Crimean cistus turned out to be of little use due to its slow growth, weak foliage, uncomfortable bush shape for harvesting, and unstable quality of aromatic resin. In addition, after cutting, its shoots recover very slowly.

The content of aromatic resin in the raw material ranges from 1.64 to 11.23%. Differs sharply between the forms and the perfumery merits of the resin. Some have a balsamic scent with herbaceous resinous tones, notes of freshness and amber, while others have a sharp herbaceous balsamic scent with greasy green tones. Thus, according to the content and quality of aromatic resin, there are great opportunities for selecting the best forms.

In Western European countries, aromatic resin is produced from the raw material of cistus, or noble (CistusladaniferL). The resin content of this species is about 17%, and it is of high quality. However, due to its low winter hardiness, weak regrowth of shoots and poor foliage, the noble cistus can grow only in the very south of Europe. The plant is hardy up to -12 ° C, found in the wild in southern Europe and North Africa.

Cistus Blanche

Cistus is a compact bush with a height of 100-150 cm, a diameter of 50-70 cm. The stem is brown at the bottom, above it is greenish-brown with an anthocyanin (purple) top. Leaves are long-pointed, without petioles, very shiny, leathery, sticky, leaf length 5.5 cm, width 1.2 cm. The branchiness of the bush is average, the foliage is weak, the resinousness is very strong. The flowers are apical, solitary, white with five petals, 8.5-9 cm in diameter. Flowering begins in mid-May and lasts until mid-June.

About the properties of the noble cistus - in the article Cistus: resin is worth its weight in gold.

Cistuslaurel (Cistuslaurifolius) has a sprawling bush 80-90 cm high, 75-80 cm in diameter.The stems are brown below, green above. The kidney scales are reddish. Leaves are oval, shortly pointed, with short petioles, slightly shiny, covered with a waxy grayish bloom, length 6.5-7.5 cm, width 2.3-2.7 cm. Venation is longitudinal.Leaves and shoots are leathery, dense. The branchiness is average, the leafiness is strong, the resinousness is average. Apical flowers, 6-10 in a brush, white with five petals, 7.5-8 cm in diameter. The resin content is high (16%), but its quality is low, so it cannot be used in the perfumery and cosmetic industry.

Cistus of Montpellien (Cistusmonspeliensis) has a spreading bush, without a central shoot, 60-70 cm high and 60-70 cm in diameter. The stem is light brown, slightly reddish above. Leaves are narrow, long, almost lanceolate, without petioles, green, matte, soft, pubescent below. Stems below are gray-green, green above with anthocyanin (purple) color, very resinous. Leaves are dark green, 8-8.5 cm long, 1-1.5 cm wide, elongated-oval, pointed, slightly corrugated, with reticular veins, with three longitudinal veins. The plant's foliage is high. Apical flowers, 3-5 per inflorescence. The corolla consists of five white petals, slightly colored in a pale yellow color, the flower diameter is 6-7 cm.

Cistus of Montpellien

Cistus shaggy (Cistus hirsutus syn. C. psilosepalus) by morphological characteristicsvery close to the Crimean cistus.

In the Nikitsky Botanical Garden, a selection of cistus was carried out by the method of interspecific hybridization to obtain a starting material more resistant to adverse environmental conditions, with a high content of high quality aromatic resin. For crossing were used Crimean cistus, noble, laurel, Montpellier, hairy. As a result, by 1975, varieties were bred, characterized by a high content of aromatic resin: Gummy (WITH. ladaniferusL. x WITH. monspeliensis L.), Pace (WITH. ladaniferus L. x C. monspeliensis L.), Zenith (WITH. ladaniferus l x WITH. laurifolius L.), Sunrise (WITH. ladaniferus L. x C. laurlfolius L.) and others. They are more winter-hardy and resistant to chlorosis, and, which is very important, grow well after cutting the shoots.

Cistus varieties are distinguished by high drought resistance and increased winter hardiness in comparison with noble cistus. In a dry and hot period, they stop growing and partially shed their leaves, however, with regular watering at this time, the growth of shoots continues. It occurs most intensively in April - May before the beginning of flowering. With vegetative propagation, plants bloom in the first year and give an industrial harvest three years after planting in a permanent place. The content of aromatic resin in different parts of the plant is not the same: in the leaves - 20%, in the upper part of annual shoots - 9.9%, in the stems - traces.

With seed reproduction, the economically valuable characteristics of varieties, as a rule, deteriorate: yield decreases, the content of aromatic resin, and its quality deteriorates. Plants form generative organs in the 2-3rd year and begin to be used for cutting raw materials in the 3rd year.

Annual growth of leafy shoots is harvested by hand in late May - early June, the second time in autumn.

indescribable beauty

Cistus is considered a very beautiful ornamental plant. Breeders have developed a number of varieties and hybrids. Cistus plants do well in hot summer conditions and thrive on the coasts. Winter hardy up to -12 ° C.


Cistusxaguilari - medium-sized evergreen shrub, reaching 2 m in height. Flowers 8 cm in diameter, appear in early summer. This is a hybrid C. ladanifer and WITH. populifolius, wild in Spain and Morocco. It was introduced into culture at the beginning of the 20th century.

Cistusxcyprius 'Albiflorus' - an evergreen shrub reaching 2 m in height. Flowers appear in early summer. Winter-hardy up to -12 ° C. Cistus x cypriushybrid Cistusladaniferusx WITH. laurifolius, wild in southwestern Europe. It was introduced into culture at the beginning of the 19th century. The 'Albiflorus' shape with evenly colored petals appeared later.

Cistusxhybridus (better known as C. x corbariensis) - dense evergreen shrub, reaching 90 cm in height and generally larger in width. Flowers about 4 cm in diameter, appear in early summer. The most winter-hardy of the cistus, it can withstand cold temperatures down to -18 ° C. This is a hybrid C. populifolius and S. salviifolius, wild in France. It was introduced into culture in the middle of the 17th century.

Cistuspopulifolius - shrub reaching 2 m in height. Flowers 5 cm in diameter, appear in early summer. They sit on short pedicels and consist of five broad petals surrounding a cluster of bright yellow-orange stamens. The plant is hardy up to -12 ° С. WITH. pop­ulifolius occurs wild in southern Europe and North Africa.

Cistus 'SilverPink' - dense evergreen shrub, reaching 75 cm in height and the same in width. Flowers 8 cm in diameter, appear in early summer. Winter-hardy up to -12 ° C. Believe that Cistus 'Silver Pink' is a hybrid WITH.creticus and WITH.laurifolius, obtained in the English nursery Hillier at the beginning of the XX century.

How to grow a cistus

Let's say right away that it can grow outdoors only in the Sochi region. And you can try to breed it in the winter garden.

Cistus varieties should be propagated only vegetatively. Cuttings are harvested in the fall (September-October) from pure-sourced mother plants (usually annual shoots) with 1-2 buds 6-8 cm long and planted in cold greenhouses or greenhouses with a nutritional area of ​​5x8 cm.After planting, the greenhouses are abundantly watered and closed. In good and warm weather, they are ventilated, if necessary, the plants are watered, but not poured! In general, the process is a little like currant rooting. In May, after the cuttings have taken root, the frames are removed. During spring and summer, caring for plants in greenhouses consists of systematic watering, trimming so that they branch, weeding and feeding. In the fall, the seedlings are dug up and transplanted to a permanent place.

Considering that the longevity of cistus plants is at least 25 years, it is necessary to allocate good areas for planting it and prepare them thoroughly. It is better to divert light gravelly soils under it. The feeding area is 2.5x1 m. Care consists in weeding, loosening and watering.

And when grown on a windowsill or in a winter garden, it has the same requirements as rosemary and myrtle: a cool (about + 12 + 15 ° C) and very bright room. In the summer, it is advisable to take the plant pot out into the air - on the patio or veranda. Starting from spring, plants need to be fed once every 10-15 days with complex fertilizer for indoor plants.