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Tenerife and Canary Island herbs: Rockrose or Jaron
Rockroses are medicinal herbs used in traditional herbal medicine
Tenerife has many endemic species of herbs and among these are the Rockroses.
The Rockroses (Cistaceae) are a group of shrubs that have attractive flowers and are also used for their medicinal properties. These pretty wild flowers of white and pink, depending on the species, tend to grow on mountainsides, in pinewoods and in scrub-land of the Canary Islands.
The Rockroses are usually drought resistant and able to tolerate high temperatures. There are a number of species found in the Canary Islands.
Rockrose species described
Two of the main types likely to be seen in Tenerife are the Rockrose species C. simphytiolius and C. monspeliensis. They are both found on all the other Canary Islands as well with the exception of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.
The first of these two species has rosy pink five-petalled flowers and is known as Jarón in Spanish. The flowers can be as much as 5 cm across and are quite showy due to their size and colour. This type of Rockrose favours he pinewood scrub-land areas and in some of the lower mountainous parts.
It is an evergreen shrub that can reach two metres in height. It has brownish grey branches and simple lance-shaped leaves.
It blooms in spring and early summer. After flowering it forms hard blackish seed capsules that split into five valves to release the contents.
Canary Island Folk Medicine
Jarón is traditionally used in Canary Island folk medicine for its pain-relieving properties, Infusions are made from the leaves and flowers of this plant.
C. monspeliensis has smallerflowers of a white colour with clusters of bright yellow stamens in the centres of each bloom. It is known in Spanish as Jara or Jaguarzo. .
The Jara is often the main species of shrub found growing in degraded areas of forest. It tolerates acidic soils but likes the sun. It is also widely distributed in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.
C. monspeliensis is the host plant for the parasitic flower Cytinus hypocistus.
This species of Rockrose is also used for treating pain and is useful for relieving anxiety too. An infusion can be brewed from its leaves and flowers.
Many other species of Rockroses are often grown in gardens around the world and are popular because of their pretty flowers.
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© 2011 Steve Andrews