They are thermophilous perennial shrubs found on dry or rocky soils, which require open, sunny places. As with many other Cistaceae, the species of Cistus have the ability to form mycorrhizal associations with truffles (Tuber) and are thus able to thrive on poor sandy soils or rocks.
The leaves are oval and crinkled, about 2 in(5 cm)long. Saucer-shaped rosy purple flowers about 2 in(5 cm) in diameter are produced in summer, the petals rumpled like tissue paper.
The most unique feature of this plant is its richness of polyphenols whose extraordinary abundance in the Pink Rockrose has popularized it as a valuable food supplement used in teas, taken alone and even incorporate in boutique health foods where its age old reputation of supporting the immune system and therefore assisting naturally with reisistance to and recovery from common colds and flu. This highly fragrant extract of the rockrose is a labdanoid terpene.When labdanum resin or leaves and twigs are steam distilled, a dark yellow oil is produced that is used in flavoring baked goods, gum and candy, and in laundry products and cleaners.