Another round of thanks to Eric in San Francisco (Eric in SF@Flickr) for today’s image. Please see the original, uncropped image here: Cistus ladanifer (I had to crop it for BPotD format). Of course, it’s been submitted via the BPotD Flickr Group Pool. Thanks again, Eric!
Crimson-spot rockrose is a Mediterranean species, native to southwest Europe and north Africa. The Mediterranean Garden Society has an excellent account for Cistus ladanifer, so I do recommend you visit the site – it includes details on how the gum or resin from this species, labdanum, has been used in the perfume industry since ancient times. Wikipedia’s entry for labdanum states, “In ancient times, the resin was scraped from the fur of goats and sheep that had grazed on the cistus shrubs. It was collected by the shepherds and sold to coastal traders. The false beards worn by the pharaohs of ancient Egypt were actually the labdanum soaked hair of these goats.” The Wikipedia entry also continues with details about the modern methods of extracting and processing labdanum.
Horticulture / botany resource link: the Hebe Society “promotes the cultivation and conservation of hebes and other New Zealand native plants”. The Plants pages in particular are worth a visit, with over 350 plant descriptions and accompanying photographs.