Acanthus spinosus

25 Jun

Acanthus spinosus (22/06/2013, Brighton)

Acanthus spinosus (22/06/2013, Brighton)

Position: Full Sun to partial shade

Flowering period: Late spring to summer

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 1.5m

Eventual Spread: 1m

Hardiness: 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a

Family: Acanthaceae

Acanthus spinosus Flower (22/06/2013, Brighton)

Acanthus spinosus Flower (22/06/2013, Brighton)

Acanthus spinosus is a fast growing deciduous herbaceous perennial with a upright habit. Its dark green glossy leaves are pinnatisect with entire margins, spiny tips and are up to 90cm long. Its white flowers appear in racemes on erect stems with purple bracts. Its roots are fleshy rhizomes.

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

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

Acanthus spinosus Leaf (22/06/2013, Brighton)

Acanthus spinosus Leaf (22/06/2013, Brighton)

The landscape architect may find  Acanthus spinosus useful  as a large herbaceous perennial with architectural habit, particularly in light shade locations. Once established this perennial is drought tolerant.

Ecologically, Acanthus spinosus is attractive to pollinating insects.

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

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

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