Scientific Name:
Acanthus mollis L.
Vernacular Name(s):
Artist's acanthus; Bear's breeches

Perennial herb with thick roots. Stems to c. 120 cm high, stout. Petiole usually 10–50 cm long in radical lvs, 2–5 cm long in cauline lvs. Lamina oblong to ovate-oblong or broadly ovate, to c. 50 × 30 cm, pinnatifid to pinnatisect, sometimes with 1–2 distinct basal leaflets; lobes or leaflets dentate (spinose-dentate in cauline lvs), glabrous or puberulent beneath on the veins, dark glossy green above. Bracts 3–4 cm long, ovate or broad-ovate, spinose-dentate; main veins raised, purplish. Calyx 3.5–5 cm long (uppermost and lowermost lobes); lobes entire, purplish towards apex. Corolla 4–5.5 cm long, whitish or pale pink with purple or brownish veins; lobes broad and rounded. Filaments stout, c. 2.5 cm × 2.5 mm, often curved; anthers villous on ventral side. Capsule 3–4 cm long, oblong-ovoid, shining, beaked. Seed 1–1.3 cm wide, flattened.

[From: Webb et al. (1988) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 4.]


Flowering: Oct.–Apr.

Biosecurity New Zealand 2012: Regional Pest Management Strategies Database.
Howell, C. 2008: Consolidated list of environmental weeds in New Zealand. DOC Research & Development Series 292: 42.