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Acanthus mollis L.
Family Acanthaceae
Common name: Bear's Breeches

Acanthus mollis L. APNI*

Description: Perennial herb with tuberous roots.

Leaves in a basal rosette, with axillary spines absent, with lamina glabrous, to 50 cm long, to 30 cm wide, margin divided or incised, deeply lobed/toothed, dark glossy green; petiole to 20–30 cm long.

Inflorescence an erect spike arising from basal leaf rosette, to 2 m high. Calyx with outer lobes unequal, upper lobes functioning as upper lip of corolla, c. 4 cm long, lower c. 3 cm long, purple or purple-tinged. Corolla c. 4–4.5 cm long, white; tube thickened distally, with ring of dense upright hairs at point of insertion of stamens.

Capsule c. 2 cm long, mucronate at apex, 1- or 2-seeded; seed brown, c. 14 mm long, 8 mm wide.


Flower
Photo S. Goodwin

Flowering: Flowers in Summer.

Distribution and occurrence: Naturalised in the Central Tablelands and Central Coast (N.S.W.). Also naturalised in Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and possibly Western Australia. Naturalised in New Zealand. Native to southern Europe, northern Africa, Asia and the Canary Islands.

Occurs in disturbed Eucalyptus piperita and Corymbia gummifera sclerophyll forest.
NSW subdivisions: *CT
AVH map***

Also observed as a garden escape in North Rocks, Sydney.

Text by B.J. Conn (2005)
Taxon concept: R.M.Barker (1986)


APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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