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White Rock-rose

Helianthemum apenninum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Cistaceae (Rock-rose)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Cliffs, grassland, rocky places, walls.

White, 5 petals
Flowers grow in clusters of 3 to 10 along the stems. The flower is white with a yellow centre. The stamens are yellow. 2 tiny inner sepals. The 3 outer sepals are striped and hairy.
A many-seeded, light brown, ovoid to globular hairy capsule.
The tiny evergreen leaves are dark green and narrowly oval in shape. The leaves are arranged in short-stalked opposite pairs along the stems. Similar to Common Rock-rose (Helianthemum nummularium) but the leaves are narrower and downy above with whitish or grey hairs. The leaves of White Rock-rose each measure about 3cm long. The leaves also have inrolled margins. Perennial. Frequently seen growing on limestone turf.
Other Names:
Rockrose, Sunrose.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Helianthemum apenninum, also known as rockrose or sunrose, is a species of flowering plant in the family Cistaceae. It is native to Europe, specifically the Mediterranean region and the Apennine Mountains, and typically grows in rocky and sunny habitats such as cliffs, rocky outcroppings, and rocky walls. The plant is a small shrub that can grow up to 30cm tall and has small, evergreen leaves and small, yellow or orange flowers that bloom in the spring and summer. The plant prefers well-drained soils and full sun exposure. It's considered a drought-tolerant and it can survive in poor soils. It's often used as an ornamental plant in rock gardens and dry gardens, and it's also used as a ground cover. It is hardy in USDA zones 6-9.


White Rock-rose, scientifically known as Helianthemum apenninum, is a stunning plant that belongs to the Cistaceae family. It is native to southern Europe, specifically the Mediterranean region, and is a hardy and adaptable plant that thrives in a range of environments. This beautiful perennial has numerous qualities that make it an excellent addition to any garden, and in this blog post, we will explore some of its most notable features.


White Rock-rose is a small shrub that grows up to 30cm tall and 60cm wide. It has a woody stem and silver-green leaves that are narrow and elongated. The plant produces an abundance of delicate, five-petaled, white flowers that bloom in late spring and continue through to early summer. The flowers are usually around 2cm in diameter and have a distinctive yellow center that contrasts beautifully with their white petals.

Growing Conditions

White Rock-rose is a versatile plant that is easy to grow in a range of environments. It prefers well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight, making it an ideal choice for rock gardens, dry walls, and other sunny locations. The plant is drought-tolerant and can withstand extended periods of dry weather, making it an excellent option for those looking for a low-maintenance plant.

Cultivation and Care

White Rock-rose is relatively easy to cultivate and care for. It is best propagated by taking cuttings in the late summer and rooting them in a well-draining soil mix. The plant can also be grown from seed, although this can be more challenging. Once established, White Rock-rose requires little care other than occasional watering during periods of prolonged drought.


White Rock-rose has a range of uses, both practical and aesthetic. Its low-growing habit makes it an excellent choice for ground cover in rock gardens, while its delicate flowers and silver-green foliage make it an attractive addition to mixed borders and containers. In addition, the plant has several medicinal properties and has been used in traditional medicine to treat a range of ailments, including coughs, sore throats, and digestive issues.

Overall, white Rock-rose is a stunning plant that offers a range of benefits to gardeners and plant enthusiasts alike. With its attractive flowers, hardy nature, and low-maintenance requirements, it is an excellent choice for those looking for a versatile and visually appealing plant. Whether you are looking to create a rock garden, add interest to a mixed border, or simply enjoy the beauty of this stunning plant, White Rock-rose is sure to impress.

More Information

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, White Rock-rose has several other advantages that make it an excellent choice for gardeners. One such benefit is its ability to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, which can help to improve the biodiversity of your garden. Its delicate white flowers provide a good source of nectar for these pollinators, making it an important addition to any garden that seeks to promote wildlife.

Another advantage of White Rock-rose is its adaptability to different growing conditions. It is able to thrive in a range of soils, including poor, sandy or rocky soils, which makes it a good choice for gardens that may have challenging growing conditions. The plant is also able to tolerate some degree of salt in the soil, making it a good choice for coastal gardens or areas with a high salt content in the soil.

White Rock-rose is also known for its ability to tolerate extreme heat and sunlight, making it a good choice for gardens in hot and dry climates. It is also resistant to pests and diseases, which makes it a low-maintenance plant that requires little to no chemical treatments.

In terms of landscaping, White Rock-rose is a versatile plant that can be used in a variety of ways. It can be planted as a ground cover, in mixed borders, or as a feature plant in a rock garden. It can also be combined with other drought-tolerant plants to create a xeriscape or water-wise garden.

If you are planning to grow White Rock-rose, it is important to note that it requires good drainage to prevent root rot. It is also important to prune the plant regularly to maintain its shape and promote healthy growth. The best time to prune White Rock-rose is after flowering, in late spring or early summer.

In conclusion, White Rock-rose is a stunning and adaptable plant that can provide numerous benefits to gardeners. Its delicate white flowers, hardy nature, and low-maintenance requirements make it an ideal choice for gardens of all sizes and styles. Whether you are looking to add interest to a mixed border or create a rock garden, White Rock-rose is a great choice that is sure to impress.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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