Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bear's Breeches

One of the most interesting plants in our garden is the Bear's Breeches, Acanthus mollis,  a striking plant if it's in a location where you can appreciate the whole plant.  Ours was buried in an overly-flourishing part of the garden for awhile, but a year ago we dug it out, split it in four, and planted them where they'd have more room.  It has grown fast!
When it has a chance to grow unrestricted, it can easily reach 3 feet across, and 4 or 5 feet high.  The leaves are a little thistle-like, and spikes of purple and white flowers reach above.  It's really much more striking to see the entire plant than just some flower spikes among other crowded flowers.

The blossoms are unusual too, with a hood extending forward over the petals, and the pistil and stamens hidden in underneath, almost impossible to see.  It's a Mediterranean plant, and there are numerous horticultural varieties. It also blooms for quite a long time, over a month.

Spikes with no flowers are REALLY like thistles.  I've never touched a plant with such tough and sharp bristles.  No thistle I've seen even comes close.


  1. They sure are pretty, even with all those spikes. Why haven't I ever heard of these before? I really don't think I've seen them anywhere. :-)

  2. I'm with DJan. I've not seen them and they really are lovely.

  3. Thank you both for visiting. They are really unusual plants, and not found in many gardens - but quite striking if you have one.

  4. Wow- that is beautiful. I love the mauve-ish color to it. And it just shows up so well with all the luscious green behind it. Bravo!