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Wilde rabarber

Acanthus mollis

Bear's breech, Bear's foot, Wild rhubarb, Sea dock, Oyster plant, Bear's breeches (Eng.)

Acanthus mollis is known for its bold clumps of shiny green leaves, topped with striking spires of elegant flowers which are clasped by showy purple bracts. Also known as bear's breeches, this plant is a great addition to any temperate garden. Great for adding an eye-catching structural element to a partially shaded border, it also makes a good ground cover species in a Mediterranean or cottage garden setting. This striking ornamental plant has traditional medicinal applications, historically it was used for burns and dislocated joints. This plant is great for bringing flair, grace and bees into your garden!

Planning

Difficulty
Easy
Flowering time
Summer
Fruiting time
Autumn

Harvesting

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.

Propagation

Tubers
Usually propagated from tubers and tend to form large, localized clumps which can survive for several decades.
Seed
Sow seeds in spring. Germinates in 3 - 4 weeks.
Cuttings
Take root cuttings in late autumn or early winter and keep moist.

Special features

Attractive flowers
Attractive showy purple and white blooms.
Attracts bees
Popular with pollinating insects such as bees, these are large enough to push into the structural flowers.
Attracts useful insects
Attracts useful pollinating insects such as bees and bumble bees.
Drought resistant
It is tolerant of drought once established.

Geography

Origin
Mediterranean region of Southern Europe.
Natural climate
Temperate

Environment

Light
Partial Sun, Full Sun, Full Shade
Soil moisture
Dry
Soil type
Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Frost hardiness
Hardy

Uses

Medicinal
Traditionally used in medicinal applications; historically it was used for burns and dislocated joints.
Notes
This low maintenance flower is often grown for cut flowers and for providing structure to beds and borders. Once established it is drought resistant and suits Mediterranean and gravel gardens

Personality

Family
Acanthaceae
Flower colour
White, lilac and rose., Burgandy, White, Purples
Scent
Mild

Problems

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

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