Hardy, herbaceous perennial
Description: Pure white flowers with purple bracts on 3' stalks, blooms in late spring to midsummer; shiny, dark green, deeply cut leaves with spiny margins
Habit: Grows 4' high and 3' wide, clump forming
Culture: Prefers full sun to partial shade and deep, moist, well-drained, humus-rich woodland loam
Hardiness: Cold hardy to USDA Zone 5
Attributes: Attracts bees
This handsome perennial, native to Italy through W. Turkey, was first documented in 1629, although it was grown much earlier by the Romans and Greeks. But, like it's cousin, Acanthus mollis, it is not known to have been cultivated commonly in American gardens before the mid 19th century. The British garden writer William Robinson revived interest in the Acanthus by extolling its virtues in his classic book, The Wild Garden, 1870. New Jersey nurseryman Peter Henderson admired both Acanthus spinosus and A. mollis as "stately" and remarkably beautiful ornamentals in his Handbook of Plants, 1890. Large, dramatic flowers are attractive to bees.
Spiny Bear's Breeches (Acanthus spinosus) arrives in a 1 quart pot.