Acanthus mollis L.

Bear's Breech

Sp. Pl. 2: 639 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Rhizomatous, herbaceous perennial. Leaves basal, ovate in outline, to 60 cm long and 30 cm wide, deeply and broadly lobed, the lobes with coarsely and irregularly toothed margins, sometimes with one or two distant lobes along the petiole, upper surface glossy dark green, glabrous, paler and duller beneath, with scattered hairs along the major veins; petioles to c. 50 cm long. Inflorescence a dense spike to 1.5 m high, many-flowered, each flower subtended by a sessile ovate, spinose bract 25–40 mm long; calyx 2-lipped, purplish, both lips entire or nearly so, the lower 25–35 mm long, the upper exceeding the lower by 5–10 mm and slightly hooding; corolla 1-lipped, 3-lobed, exceeding calyx by up to c. 10 mm, white with purplish veins; stamens 4, filaments robust 4, anthers c. 1 cm long, densely fringed adjacent to slits. Fruit ovoid, acute, c. 2 cm long. Flowers spring to summer.

*GipP, *HSF, *VVP. Commonly cultivated and noted to have escaped to some extent in the Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley. Native to Europe.

Created by: Neville Walsh, 2015-06-01
Updated by: Neville Walsh, 2015-06-01
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Asteranae
order Lamiales
family Acanthaceae
genus Acanthus
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Acanthus mollis in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Acanthus mollis in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales