Acanthus hungaricus

21 Jul

Acanthus hungaricus Flower (30/06/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Acanthus hungaricus Flower (30/06/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full Sun to partial shade

Flowering period: Late spring to summer

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 1.5m

Eventual Spread: 90cm

Hardiness: 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a,  9b

Family: Acanthaceae

Acanthus hungaricus is a fast growing herbaceous perennial. Its dark green leaves are pinnatisect with entire margins, are glossy in texture and are up to 80cm long. Its white flowers appear in racemes on erect stems with purple bracts. Its roots are fleshy rhizomes.

Acanthus hungaricus, commonly known as Bear’s Breeches, is native to south east Europe. In its native habitat it grows in woodland margins and scrub.

Acanthus hungaricus (30/06/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Acanthus hungaricus (30/06/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

The etymological root of the binomial name Acanthus is derived fro the ancient Greek akanthos meaning ‘a prickle’ in reference to some members of the genus being spiny. Hungaricus is derived from the Latin meaning ‘from Hungary’.

The landscape architect may find  Acanthus hungaricus useful  as a large herbaceous perennial with architectural habit, particularly in light shade locations. Given the right conditions this plant will happily spread.

Ecologically, Acanthus hungaricus is attractive to pollinating insects.

Acanthus hungaricus prefers moist, deep, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Acanthus hungaricus requires little maintenance. Large clumps may be divided in autumn or spring.

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