Cistus are evergreen shrubs with profuse, 5-petalled, bowl-shaped, papery flowers in shades of white, pink or purple, each lasting a single day, over a long period in summer. The foliage may be coated with a perfumed resin (Cistus ladanifer) or covered with gray wool. There are many species and hybrids of Cistus, but all need protection from cold winds and heavy frost. Deer resistant, drought and salt tolerant, these carefree Mediterranean natives require very little irrigation and are perfect as groundcovers for erosion control, useful in rock gardens and excellent for adding sparkling color to seaside locations. They are among the most ornamental of all Mediterranean flowers.