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A shrub of compact habit, to about 3 ft high; young growths downy. Leaves ovate, pointed or rounded at the apex, up to 21⁄2 in. long and 11⁄4 in. wide, on winged stalks; grey-green above, greener beneath and downy on both surfaces; three-nerved from the base with the reticulations impressed above and prominent beneath. Flowers about 1 in. across, clear rose-pink, in terminal and axillary heads; petals triangular ovate, not overlapping; sepals five, downy; stigma large, almost sessile.
Native of the E. Mediterranean, with its western outpost on Lampedusa Island, south of Sicily. It was in cultivation in Sweet’s time and figured in his Cistineae, t. 14 (1826); another introduction was by Shirley Atchley from Greece around 1930. Botanically it is an interesting species. Its foliage and coloured flowers suggest affinity with such species as C. crispus and C. creticus, etc. But no other species has flowers of such a clear pink and the sessile stigma is a character otherwise found only among the white-flowered cistuses.
C. parviflorus, in the form now in commerce, has proved remarkably hardy and vigorous. During its short season of flower it makes a very pretty display and, with its healthy, almost blue-green young foliage, could serve as a foil to other plants during the rest of the season.
The flower-colour of this species, although always a clear pink, varies in intensity. Plants with deep pink flowers occur in eastern Crete and perhaps elsewhere. In this area too the flowers are sometimes so small that the plants from a distance suggest Helianthemum ‘Wisley Pink’.