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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.

Photo S. Goodwin

Flowering: Flowers in Summer.

Distribution and occurrence: Commonly cultivated. Also naturalised in NZ. Native to southern Europe and northwestern Africa.

Occurs in disturbed Eucalyptus piperita and Corymbia gummifera sclerophyll forest.
NSW subdivisions: *CT
Other Australian states: *Vic. *Tas. *W.A. *S.A.
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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