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A picture of a Spiny Bear's Breeches

Spiny Bear's Breeches

Acanthus spinosus

Also known as

Armed Bear's Breech

Photo by AlanGardenMaster (All rights reserved)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Light watering
Frost Hardy


USDA zone


Minimum temperature

Expected size








2 years to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of Spiny Bear's Breeches

A close up of some purple and white Acanthus spinosus flowers growing at The Newt Somerset
Acanthus spinosus flower spikes
A close up of an acanthus spinosus flower
A close up of an Acanthus spinosus leaf
A green Acanthus spinosus plant and flowers in a garden

Spiny Bear's Breeches Overview

Acanthus spinosus is a clump-forming perennial that produces dark green glossy spine-toothed leaves. Flowers are borne on tall, erect racemes of white flowers with spiny purplish bracts surrounding them in late spring and summer.

Common problems with Spiny Bear's Breeches

Pests include snails. Diseases include powdery mildew, fungal and bacterial leaf spot.

How to harvest Spiny Bear's Breeches

To harvest flowers, cut the flower at the height of bloom and hang upside down in a cool, dark place to dry. If dried correctly they will hold their colour well and will last about a year before browning. Harvest seeds in late winter.

How to propagate Spiny Bear's Breeches


Sow seeds in spring. Germinates in 3 - 4 weeks.


Take root cuttings in late autumn or early winter and keep moist.


Usually propagated from tubers and tends to form large, localized clumps which can survive for several decades. Divide clumps in autumn or spring.


Special features of Spiny Bear's Breeches

Attracts bees

Drought resistant

It is tolerant of drought once established.

Attracts useful insects

Attracts useful pollinating insects such as bees and bumble bees.

Attractive flowers

Attractive, showy blooms.

Other uses of Spiny Bear's Breeches

This low maintenance flower is frequently grown for cut flowers but also provides architecture to beds and borders. Drought resistant once established it suits Mediterranean and gravel gardens.


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