ericgower's picture

Leafy plant

Observed: 11th November 2012 By: ericgower

Several of these plants came up in the garden of the house we moved into last November. First leaves appeared in spring. Expected flowers but none came! No-one seems to be able identify it as either a garden or wild plant. (For scale purposes pot in first photo is 350mm diameter.)

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Rachy Ramone's picture

Good news and bad news....

The good news is that Acanthus comes in two varieties: A. spinosa, which is terribly prickly in every direction: and A. mollis, this one, which is prickle-free. So be glad, you have the un-spiky one!

The bad news is that they have enormously long roots, and are very hard indeed to get rid of, should you decide that you don't like them.

I have no suggestions as to why these plants didn't flower this year (apart from "it's been a funny year for many plants") but I would expect them to flower next year: as per the other pictures, it will an impressively tall spire of densely arranged, pretty, two-tone flowers.

If you don't like them, the best answer is to dig out as much of the roots as you can, then apply glyphosate to them next spring, as the new leaves appear. Re-treat every two weeks and eventually they should run out of steam.

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
Field Guides for Budding Botanists: