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Products > Acanthus mollis
 
Acanthus mollis - Bear's Breeches
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Perennial
Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus¹)
Origin: Portugal (Europe)
Flower Color: Pinkish White
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Height: 3-4 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Cool Sun/Light Shade
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10° F
Acanthus mollis (Bear's Breeches) - A large coarse leafed rhizomatous perennial to 3-4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, with large dark green deeply-lobed leaves. Vertical flower spikes, appearing in spring through early summer, are 4-6 feet tall, with flattened hooded white to light pink flowers subtended by spiny green and purple bracts. Plant in full coastal sun to light shade (seems best with full morning sun) and water regularly to occasionally - will go summer dormant without irrigation and if treated this way can be considered "drought tolerant". Foliage is knocked back by frost but it is root hardy to about 5 degrees F. Trim off the spiny remains of the flower stalk after flowering. This plant expands its presence in the garden by rhizomes that can be dug up but it is best contained by root barriers to lessen the spread - is considered invasive by some gardeners but doesn't seem to be out of control in our mediterranean climate. Control snails and slugs that disfigure the bold foliage. This plant is native to Portugal in southern Europe east around the Mediterranean Sea to Croatia and across to North Africa. The name for the genus is derived from the Greek word 'įkantha' which means "thorn" or "spike" and the specific epithet is Latin for "soft" or "smooth", in reference to the texture of the leaves. Other common names include Bearsfoot, Grecian Plant, Wild Rhubarb and in Australia it is called Oyster Plant, which likely refers to the white, flattened flowers. The striking leaves are considered to have been inspiration for decorations of Greco-Roman architecture.  This description is based on research and observations of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in our nursery garden and in other gardens that we visit. We also incorporate comments received and appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have any additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Acanthus mollis.