Acanthus hungaricus

Long-leaved Bear's Breeches

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An elegant plant native to southeast Europe, bear’s breeches has sharply pointed, deeply divided leaves that may be 2 feet long, growing in large clumps. In midsummer, it produces columnar flower spikes to 3 feet in height. The tubular flowers have a dusky plum-purple upper lip and a white lower lip. Beneath each flower is a spiny bract that is white with green veins. This perennial is marginally hardy in the Chicago area and may not flower after an extremely cold winter. It takes average soil and water, but may take a few years to become established. The leaves of Acanthus were the inspiration for the decorative designs on Corinthian columns popular in Renaissance architecture.

Plant Shape
Full Sun, Partial Shade
Bloom Time
May - June, July - August
Bloom Color
White, Purple
Landscape Use
Bedding or Border, Specimen Plant, Groundcover, Understory
Wildlife Interest
Attracts Birds, Resistant To Deer
Plant Type
Hardiness Zone
5 - 10