It is a shrub growing 1-2.5 m tall and wide. The leaves are evergreen, lanceolate, 3–10 cm long and 1–2 cm broad, dark green above and paler underneath. The flowers are 5–8 cm diameter, with 5 papery white petals, usually with a red to maroon spot at the base, surrounding the yellow stamens and pistils. The whole plant is covered with the sticky exudate of fragrant resin.
It is native to the Mediterranean basin especially in Spain where it grows along with the oaks in areas with granite and slate warm and dry.