Plants Portraits: Acanthus spinosus

It’s not often that I make time to really study a plant or flower in detail.  Last weekend, whilst staying with family, I seized the opportunity to have a closer look at Acanthus spinosus, commonly known as spiny bear’s breeches.  The plant’s leaves are believed to have inspired the flamboyant capitals of Roman Corinthian columns.  Flower spikes, which emerge in summer, combine an extraordinary softness of colour with hard, sharp spines and pronounced veins.  I love the way the white flowers form a jagged heart shape within the thorny bracts before emerging.  From every angle, this plant is a joy to photograph.

Acanthus mollis, Stonebridge Farm, July 2013

Acanthus mollis, July 2013

Acanthus mollis, July 2013

Acanthus mollis, July 2013

Acanthus mollis, July 2013

Acanthus mollis, July 2013