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Cistus salviifolius has spreading stems covered by clumpy hairs. This bushy shrub reaches on average 30–60 cm in height, with a maximum of 1 m. The oval-shaped green leaves are 1- 4 cm long, opposite, reticulate, tomentose on both sides, with a short petiole (2–4 mm). The inflorescence holds one or more round flowers, long-stalked, arranged at the leaf axils. The five white petals have a yellow spot at the base, forming a corolla 4–6 cm in diameter. The stamens are also yellow and the anthers shed abundant yellow pollen. This plant is pollinated by insects entomophily, especially bees. The flowering period extends from April through May. The fruit is a pentagonal capsule, 5–7 mm long.
This showy wildflower is native to the Mediterranean region, in southern Europe and parts of Western Asia and North Africa.This plant prefers dry hills, scrubs and open woodlands, at an altitude of 0–1 200 m above sea level. It grows very quickly after a fire.
The genus name Cistus derives from the Greek words κίσϑος meaning basket, while the species name salviifolius refers the wrinkled leaves similar to those of the sage.