Species in the Cistaceae are shrubs or herbs with alternate, simple, small or even scale-like leaves. The leaves and stems sometimes have hairs that are branched. Plants may have single flowers, or the flowers may be grouped in branched inflorescences. Flowers open only for a few hours before they wither. They have both pollen-bearing and ovule-bearing parts, with usually 5 sepals and petals, and are actinomorphic (i.e., radially symmetrical). The sepals are of two shapes, with 2 much narrower (and sometimes also shorter) than the other 3. Petals and sepals attach below the ovary (i.e., the ovary is superior). There are 3-to-many stamens and 1 ovary. Some species have both flowers that open normally, and ones that do not open and are self-pollinated. The self-pollinated flowers have no petals. The fruit is a capsule that opens along a number of valves to release its seeds.
This Family’s Genera in New England:
Visit this family in the Dichotomous Key