Acanthus spinosus, Spiny Bear's Breeches, is a herbaceous clump-forming perennial with handsome arching deeply-cut spiny leaves producing in early summer magnificent tall architectural columnar racemes of white flowers hooded with purple bracts. These bold stately flower-spikes are quite spectacular and their vertically-arranged lines of flowers - each with a heavily-veined purple hood - have a very exotic and somewhat strange and alien presence and are a powerful magnet for bees. Native to the Mediterranean regions of southern Europe and Asia Minor, it is thought to have been originally introduced to Britain by the Romans.
It requires a south-facing aspect with full sun and a deep rich soil and plenty of room in which to grow. It is usually more free-flowering than Acanthus mollis and responds to a hot summer and strong light. It is fully hardy and quickly establishes a large clump and as its roots are rather tenacious, it should only be grown in a permanent position where you are unlikely to want to move it.
|Synonyms||Acanthus caroli-alexandri, Acanthus spinosissimus, Acanthus spinulosus|
|Cultivation||Full sun, deep rich soil and plenty of room to expand|
|Eventual Height||1.5m - including the height of the inflorescence|
|Hardiness||Fully hardy herbaceous perennial|
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