Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Secret Plant

Some very interesting plants seem to be big secrets, unknown to most gardeners; one of these is Acanthus spinosus. Is there a single gardener in zones 4 and 5 that has not wished to grow Acanthus mollis (bear's breeches)? I think not. Unfortunately its hardiness is probably at best zone 6, and a warm zone 6 at that. Well, there is a hardy species, Acanthus spinosus, sometimes called spiny bear's breeches that is almost as good; four foot tall with foot long spikes of flowers. Admittedly it's not quite as "architectural" as mollis; the foliage of spinosus is more thistle-like; more open, divided, and spiny. However, we aren't deciding here whether to grow mollis or spinosus; we're deciding whether to grow spinosus or to sulk about not being able to grow mollis.

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It seems that the daddy long legs approves of the Acanthus spinosus in the top photo. Of course he's not choosing based on wonderful foliage, shape, or flower. He probably picked it for the ambush potential.
Don, I had never heard of Acanthus before, and it's another great discovery at your blog! I can certainly see where the "spinosus" comes from!

BTW, I recall a few weeks back you questioned your use of the word "stoloniferous." I did a bit of research, and it is indeed a proper term to use! I figured it was already, but just to let you know. :-)
yes, a zone fiver who lusted after acanthus....will have to look for this *second best* option...

Catherine No. IL
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