Acanthus (Acanthaceae)

The name derives from the Greek òkanthos «acanthus». The genus includes elegant rustic perennials, known since the time of the Greeks and Romans, who, in architecture, used the shape of the leaves for the Corinthian capital, more precisely for two varieties of it: the Greek that used the leaf of the Acanthus spinosus, originally from Greece and italic, in which the A.’s leaf was represented. monis. All the Acanthus form large clumps of long, upright and erect leaves, among which the inflorescences emerge from the labiati flowers, emerging from often thorny bracts; the roots are strong, fleshy and firmly clinging to the ground.

The elegant stylized leaves of the Acanthus
The elegant stylized leaves of the Acanthus

Cultivated species of Acanthus:

Acanthus longifolius (cm 90 – m 1,20), with violet flowers, blooms in June; A. monis, the best known, unarmed, with violet-pink flowers and long leaves up to 60 cm, goes to rest after the summer bloom and grows again in autumn; A. spinosus, with deeply lacerated thorny leaves, purple, green and white flowers in July and August.


excellent as an isolated specimen, it can also be planted in groups, particularly along old walls or in the shade of trees. The foliage of the young plants is less lacinated and toothed than in adults and so is also that coming from young plants root cuttings. It needs rich, well-drained soil and half-shade, except in particularly cool locations. It can be reproduced by seed in spring or multiply by root cutting in winter and spring and by division in autumn or spring.