Common Name: Acanthus; Bear's Breeches
Native to southern Europe and northwest Africa. One of the earliest cultivated species of garden plants. Grows to 6' tall, with basal clusters of deeply lobed, shiny dark green leaves up to 3' long. Late spring or early summer flowers are tubular, whitish, lilac or rose with spiny green or purplish bracts on stout spikes which grow up to 8 ft above the leaves. Tolerant of drought and shade. Propagated from tubers. The leaves of this plant are generally considered by historians to have been the design inspiration for the Corinthian column capitals of Roman architecture.