A family mostly of low shrubs but also of a few herbs, in which the leaves are usually opposite. The flowers are regular and bisexual, with either 5 unequal or 3 equal sepals and 5 crinkled, showy petals. There are many stamens. Usually the ovary is 1-celled, and contains many seeds. The style is simple, the fruit a capsule. Cistus species (which have a 5-valved capsule) are much cultivated for their large flowers, as are some Helianthemum species (which have a 3-valved capsule). There are 7 genera, with about 175 species, centred in the Mediterranean region, but extending through Europe, central Asia, and America.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.