Cistus ladanifer, commonly known as gum rockrose or labdanum, is a species of flowering plant in the family Cistaceae. It is native to the western Mediterranean region, including Portugal, Spain, and Morocco.
Gum rockrose is a small evergreen shrub that can grow up to 2 meters tall. It has glossy green leaves and produces large, showy flowers in shades of white, pink, or purple. The flowers are characterized by their papery petals and numerous stamens, which give them a distinctive, delicate appearance.
The plant has a long history of use in traditional medicine and perfumery. The resinous exudate from the leaves and stems, known as labdanum, has a strong, sweet, and woody aroma and is used as a fixative in perfumes. It was also used in ancient times as a medicinal herb, particularly for treating respiratory and digestive ailments.
Cistus ladanifer is well adapted to dry, hot environments and can thrive in poor, rocky soils. It is a valuable plant for erosion control and land restoration projects, as it helps to stabilize soils and prevent desertification. It is also cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens and parks.