From The Plant Encyclopedia

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Helianthemum nummularium

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Kingdom Plantae
Order Malvales
Family Cistaceae
Species in this genus
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Helianthemum (),[1] known as rock rose, sunroses, or rushrose, is a genus of about 110 species of evergreen or semi-evergreen subshrubs in the family Cistaceae. They are widely distributed in the Americas, Europe, and from North Africa to Asia Minor and Central Asia, with the center of diversity in the Mediterranean region.

The leaves are opposite, simple oval, 1-4 cm long and 0.5-2 cm broad, varying from glossy green to tomentose grey-green. The flowers are 2-4 cm diameter, with five petals, white or yellow, occasionally tinged pink; in some species the flowers are bicoloured with a brighter yellow centre to act as a 'target' for pollinating insects.

Helianthemum species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Large Grizzled Skipper and the bucculatricid leaf-miners Bucculatrix helianthemi and Bucculatrix regaella (which both feed exclusively on Helianthemum sessiliflorum) and the Coleophora case-bearers C. bilineella, C. eupreta (feeds exclusively on H. sessiliflorum), C. ochrea (feeds exclusively on Helianthemum) and C. potentillae.

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Cultivation and uses

Several Helianthemum species, and the numerous hybrids and cultivars derived from them, are widely grown as ornamental plants, popular in rockeries. A broader range of colours is available among the cultivars, including bright salmon-pink to dark red.


  1. Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607

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