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13/07/2014 at 15:28


Dear Forum Members,

Going by the foliage alone I was certain this was a weed. Then it's 'flower' appeared and I gave it the benefit of the doubt as it was rather beautiful (see picture).

Then yesterday I was walking locally and someone had the same plant in their front garden with several flower stems, with these rather complex, interesting and beautiful flowers.

However I have never laid eyes on this before yet it's leaves reminded me of weeds, possibly of the nettle family, which I have encountered in the past.

I have attached 3 pictures. Can anyone solve the mystery for me please?

The Grateful Deadhead



13/07/2014 at 15:29

Is it acanthus?

13/07/2014 at 15:31

aaaahhhh!! A Google image search reveals that it is indeed Acanthus. Well done you, and thanks!

The Grateful Deadhead

13/07/2014 at 15:33


not sure which one, looks a bit short for spinosus

13/07/2014 at 15:37

yes it is shorter than the long ones I saw in someone's garden. It nearly met a sticky end in the green waste bin, I must admit. I am glad I gave it the benefit of the doubt. Thanks

13/07/2014 at 15:42

Possibly A hungaricus ? 

My A.mollis is flowering beautifully at the moment since moving it from against a hot south facing wall to a shadier spot


13/07/2014 at 15:51

My mollis has earned a reprieve. It's flowered very little for years but this year's height and flower spikes has beaten all records. It can stay

13/07/2014 at 16:19

I have an Acanthus spinosus given to me by a forum member and if it flowers anything like that I'll be thrilled.   I think I was told not to let it seed all over.

13/07/2014 at 16:25

I wouldn't worry about the seeds KEF

Watch the roots

13/07/2014 at 16:47

Nut I was given it in a bucket and I didn't have a big enough space so it's in a huge tub. I think mine is different to posters as it is a lot more prickly but deffo' Acanthus spinosus as I was given a hand written label  

13/07/2014 at 16:53

Well controlled 

I have a flowering A. spinosus now. Fidget gave it to me. Before that I had 2 that just do leaves, for years and years. It's about 3 foot tall. 

The mollis is about 6 foot, way above my head

13/07/2014 at 17:08

Nut she is a very generous plantswoman  I'm re-designing my garden based on gifts.

13/07/2014 at 17:14

Good idea KEF. I love swapping plants. 

13/07/2014 at 18:50

May I ask Nutcutlet about the Acanthus regarding it's roots? Its quite near other stuff (as you may be able to see from the photo). Should I be very concerned? Its about 18" from a fern and in the other direction about 18" from some shorter orangey Montbretias.

Many thanks,


The Grateful Deadhead

13/07/2014 at 18:55

I wouldn't worry too much. It's not ground elder

It's the sort of plant that if you move it, it's still there. You have 2 clumps. But it doesn't take over the garden.

13/07/2014 at 19:08

I would say Acanthus spinosus. Mine has several spikes and is about 4 ft tall. It spreads. If it seeds the seedlings are dreadful to dig out. Once you've got ,you've got it for life.Mine has a spread of about 4 ft cross despite hacking out lumps most years. Burglars don't like it however. My sister has some one who kept hopping over her fence as a shortcut from the pub, until one was strategically placed. They go the long way round now

13/07/2014 at 19:10

I also have Acanthus spinosissimus which has much pricklier leaves. Its not died but its never flowered for me. Maybe I'll move it.

13/07/2014 at 20:30

This is what to expect. This is a 15 year old clump.


13/07/2014 at 20:42


13/07/2014 at 22:00

I picked several heads after they had flowered one year and sprayed them with gold paint to use as christmas decorations  In the warmth of the living room the seeds popped off every so often with a little explosoion and caterpulted across the room - entertaining!


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