Cistus Monspeliensis: Habitat, Properties, Care, Diseases

Cistus monspeliensis

, better known as jagz, is a shrubby species of the Cistaceae family. It is commonly known as jagz, black juagarzo, black jagz, black rockrose, Montpelier rockrose, black steppe, Moorish steppe, or mosquera steppe. Its name refers to the Montpellier region where it grows in the south of France.

It is a shrub of more or less 1 m in height that grows mainly in the Mediterranean area. It has dark green leaves, lanceolate with a somewhat slimy appearance. The flowers are white, hermaphroditic and very showy, so they match the dark green tone of the plant in general.

Cistus monspeliensis. Source: pixabay.com

This species can tolerate drought and also the presence of lime. It is also capable of growing in any type of soil, even the poorest. It does well in hot climates and does not tolerate frost.

It is cultivated as an ornamental, although it is a wild species. It has many properties that make it useful to apply in traditional and conventional medicine.

Article index

  • one

    Description

    • 1.1

      Habit

    • 1.2

      Leaves

    • 1.3

      flowers

    • 1.4

      Fruit

  • two

    Taxonomy

  • 3

    Habitat and distribution

    • 3.1

      Ecological importance

  • 4

    Properties

  • 5

    Care

    • 5.1

      Applications

    • 5.2

      Uses in traditional medicine

  • 6

    Diseases

  • 7

    References

Description

Habit

Jagz is an evergreen shrub that has a dark and intense green color, viscous and with a strong labdanum or balsamic odor. This shrub can be 1.5 to 1.8 tall, although it can usually reach up to a meter in height.

Leaves

The leaves of the jagz are long, narrow, linear-lanceolate with a dark green coloration, with three main veins, shiny on the upper surface, and of a pale tone on the underside, in addition to that dense trichomes appear on this side of the leaf. 

In turn, the leaves are opposite and unite at their base around the stem. The leaves may turn blackish-brown in late summer, when there is intense drought and heat, hence the common name black steppe.

flowers

The flowers of the black steppe are white, small (between 2 and 3 cm in diameter), arranged in unilateral cymes with more or less between 2 and 10 flowers; these tops are covered with long hairs and look like clusters. 

Cistus monspeliensis. Source: H. Zell [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

For their part, the flowers have a calyx formed by 5 petals also covered with long hairs; while, the pistil has a short style. 
The flowering time is between April and June and attracts mostly insects such as bees and wasps.

Fruit

The fruit of this plant species is a small capsule that is opened by 5 valves located at the apex. It contains numerous seeds with a tetrahedral shape and rough texture. 

Taxonomy

The black rockrose has several synonyms such as

Cistus affinis, Cistus feredjensis, Cistus monspeliensis

var.

feredjensis, Cistus olbiensis, Cistus oleifolius, Cistus Porquerollensis, Cistus valentinus, Stephanocarpus monspeliensis.

This plant has the following taxonomic classification:

Kingdom: Plantae

Phylum: Tracheophyta

Subphylum: Euphyllophytina

Class: Magnoliopsida

Subclass: Magnoliidae

Superorder: Rosanae

Order: Malvales

Family: Cistaceae

Gender:

Cistus

Species:

Cistus monspeliensis

L.

Habitat and distribution

The juagarzo prieto is distributed from 0 m to approximately 1200 m of altitude; it is not very demanding with respect to the soil since it can develop even in the poorest.

In addition, the type of substrate can be limestone or siliceous, since it grows in slate soils (acidic) and in limestone soils (basic), therefore, it has a wide range of tolerance to pH.

This shrub requires a warm but frost-free climate, requiring low humidity. 
It can be found associated with the common rockrose (

Cistus ladanifer

).

It generates extensive jaguarzales on warm slopes, formed by soils with a high content of silica and in an environment where oaks, cork oaks, or gall oaks grow. This plant tolerates lime and is cultivated as an ornamental.

Jaguarzo. Source: H. Zell [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

The black rockrose is distributed in the Mediterranean region, as well as Madeira and the Canary Islands. As for the Balearic Islands, it is distributed throughout the major islands.

You can find it distributed from the Montes de Toledo and the Mediterranean provinces to Catalonia. However, it is more common to find it in Andalusia and Sierra Morena.

On the other hand, this shrubby plant is found in places like France, Malta, Albania, Greece, Algeria, Turkey, Cyprus, and the United States.

Ecological importance

The species Cistus monspeliensis has been imprecisely referred to as a scrub component. In these bushes it has been found associated with many hypogeal fungi, including the species

Elaphomyces citrinus

, which acts as a mycorrhizal fungus.

Likewise, this species has been mentioned as a symbiote of the fungus

Terfezia alsheikhii,

and it is associated with the arenaria plant.

Properties

It is used as aromatic or medicinal. In general the species of

Cistus

They have antidiarrheal and anti-inflammatory properties, being the most recognized.

The species

C. monspeliensis

It contains flavonoids that are considered to act as antioxidants. In addition to this, crude aqueous extracts of

C. monspeliensis

They have shown a protective effect on DNA division, and the ability to eliminate free radicals according to the applied dose.

In this point,

C. monspeliensis

has turned out to be more active than

C. incanus

. In this regard, the results have been confirmed thanks to a significant inhibition of lipid peroxidation in rat liver microsomes.

Thus, the experimental evidence in this regard suggests that thanks to this antioxidant activity, these extracts can offer an excellent photoprotection to the skin, and can be useful to treat human diseases related to oxidative stress.

This plant has been considered for its uses for the improvement of oral conditions, the respiratory tract and the intestinal tract. It also has properties that accelerate healing, antiseptic, and against the formation of ulcers.

Care

Regarding the care that is carried out in the garden crops of this species, we can find that pruning can be carried out as long as it is not drastic. In this sense, it is recommended to prune them at the end of flowering to keep the plant more compact and more vigorous.

Since this plant requires low humidity, it can grow with little watering. This is taking greater care especially when the summer is strong, since phytosanitary problems may appear due to the presence of

Botrytis

However, if this plant is watered normally, it must be planted in well-drained soil, as excessive watering can cause the death of this shrub. The planting density should be 3 to 4 plants per square meter. 

Jagz leaves and flowers. Source: Frank Vincentz [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]

The fertilizer to be applied must be liquid and very light. With regard to sowing, seeds should be placed on the surface of a sand / substrate mixture. Later it should be covered in a pot with a preferably transparent plastic and should be located in a warm place with some shade.

Then, when these seeds germinate for about 3-4 weeks, they are transplanted. In this phase, the seedlings must be of the necessary size to handle them and be placed in individual pots.

They are then covered with sandy soil and gradually adapt to the sun. 
For its propagation, it is advisable to do it by cuttings and at the end of the summer.

Applications

Jagz is a species that is used to restore environments in coastal rocky areas, xerophytic areas such as dry scrub or degraded slopes.

Otherwise, jagz is used for gardening that does not require great care, as they are kept in bushy groups in sunny, dry places, or around rockery. In particular, it is a plant suitable for gardening in places near the sea. 

Cistus monspeliensis growing alongside Lavandula stoechas. Source: User: Tigerente [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]

Another use of jagz is that it is used as an aromatic species. 
The black steppe is very popular in Catalonia for its use as an addition to fire. In this case, it is used to roast chestnuts, this being a process that provides a very pleasant aroma and flavor.

It is also used to smoke cheese, to which it provides a characteristic golden aroma and color. 
Also, this plant is used as a forage plant. For this, its branches and leaves are cut as green fodder and are consumed by goats and sheep when food is scarce. On the other hand, this plant is considered important for the production of honey. 

Another important use is that in some places its vegetation cover is used as a kind of green manure that controls nematodes.

The species

Cistus

monspeliensis

 It was used in ancient times as an abrasive for cleaning tasks.

Uses in traditional medicine

In traditional medicine, this plant has been used to control blood pressure. For this, the maceration of its leaves is used and consumed. Also, from the aerial part (leaves and branches) drinks are made to treat gastric ulcers and cut diarrhea.

In some places, a warm branch placed directly on the belly is used to decrease menstrual pain or to regulate menstrual flow when it is heavy.

On the other hand, the decoction of the whole plant is used as an antiasthmatic, expectorant, tranquilizer and anti-inflammatory in case of a sprain. This same decoction can be used to wash cattle wounds.

Diseases

The species

Cistus monspeliensis

it is a shrub that is quite resistant to the attack of diseases and pests. However, it can be susceptible to attack by fungi that thrive in conditions of high soil moisture. Therefore, possibly this plant does not withstand waterlogging conditions.

References

  1. López, G. 2004. Guide to the trees and shrubs of the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands (wild species and the most common cultivated ones). 2nd ed. Editions Mundi-Prensa. Spain. 894 p. Taken from: books.google.com.ve
  2. Carex vivers. 2019.

    Cistus monspeliensis

    . Taken from: carex.cat

  3. Catalog of Life: 2019 Annual Checklist. Species details:

    Cistus monspeliensis

    L. Taken from: catalogueoflife.org

  4. The Taxonomicon. (2004-2019). C

    istus monspeliensis

    Linnaeus-Montpellier cistus. Taken from: taxonomicon.taxonomy.nl

  5. Virtual Herbari of the Western Mediterranean. 2019.

    Cistus monspeliensis

    L. Taken from: herbarivirtual.uib.es

  6. Ataguile, G., Russo, A., Campisi, A., Savoca, F., Acquaviva, R., Ragusa, N., Vanella, A. 2000. Antioxidant activity and protective effect on DNA cleavage of extracts from

    Cistus incanus

    L. and

    Cistus monspeliensis

    L. Cell Biology and Toxicology, 16 (2): 83-90.

  7. Cistaceae. 2019. Taken from: valverdedelcamino.es
  8. Sánchez-Gómez, P., Torrente, P., Jiménez, J., Cánovas, JL, Gutiérrez, A. 2015. Cistáceas of the Iberian Southeast with interest for its mycorrhizal potential with diverse hypogeal fungi. Annals of Biology 37: 69-81.
  9. Green Garden. (2011-2015). Cistus monspeliensis or Black Rockrose description and cultivation in gardens, terraces and balconies. Taken from: verde-jardin.blogspot.com
  10. González, JA, Vallejo, JR, Amich, F. 2018. Cistus monspeliensis . In: Spanish Inventory of Traditional Knowledge related to Biodiversity. Pardo, M., Morales, R., Tardío, J., Aceituno, L., Molina, M. (eds). Government of Spain. Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment. Madrid. page 58.

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