Bear’s Breeches, Acanthus mollis
Bear’s Breeches (Acanthus mollis) is a species of herbaceous perennial plant native to the Mediterranean region form Portugal and northwest Africa east to Croatia. It was one of the earliest cultivated species of garden plants. It grows in dry areas, and is tolerant of drought and shade.
This plant grows to about 6.5 feet tall. It has basal clusters of deeply lobed and cut, shining dark green leaves up 3.25 feet long and close to 8 inches broad. The
flowers are tubular, whitish, lilac or rose with spiny green or purplish bracts, and produced on stout spikes which grow up to 8 feet above the leaves. It flowers in the late spring or early summer.
The plant is propagated from tubers and tends to form large, localized clumps which can survive for several decades. The leaves of this plant are generally considered by historians to have been the design inspiration for the Corinthian column capitals of Roman architecture.