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Bear’s Breeches ‘Acanthus spinosus’

Bear's Breeches 'Acanthus spinosus'
Bear's Breeches 'Acanthus spinosus'

What Is That Plant In My Garden? Bear’s Breeches ‘Acanthus spinosus’

Have you ever had a plant come up year after year in your yard? That you wondered where in the world it came from? And why in the world it is it still there?
After over 20 years, this plant took my breath away. It was not like I did not remember seeing it before, but to me, it was always that thorny bush that came up every year. It was not significant for many of those years, and I saw the attractive spiked blooms once in a while. That said, it did not impress me. It showed up in one of my husband’s garden beds, recreated a few years ago, where our rose garden used to be. We also have a Blue River II White Hibiscus and my Pink Lemonade Honeysuckle vine that is still there. The roses died years ago.

Plants In Our Memory Garden

This garden I consider our memory garden where our cats have their final resting place, complete with statues and painted rocks. Jon (my husband) has been adding daylilies and coneflowers to this area, and I have to say this year everything was spectacular. But when this Bear’s Breeches showed up, I was in awe.

Many of you know I am the Behnke family member who does not know all the different plant names by sight. I guessed years ago; someone must have told me the name of this plant was Bear or something, which I went on to insist the name was Bear Claw. LOL Nothing like making up new names.

And The Real Name Is… Bear’s Breeches

While talking to Larry Hurley about this plant and showing him a photo, I was quickly corrected and learned the correct name is Bear’s Breeches. Well close enough, I say. I asked my husband where did this plant come from. #bornatbehnkes second hand. Meaning, my mom Sonja Behnke Festerling had planted one from Behnke’s at her home. My husband saw one of the little ones that came up next to hers and dug it up.

How To Grow Bear’s Breeches

I guess we had all the right conditions for success! You can read about the care at the Missouri Botanical Garden. An interesting fact I also learned from Bob Vila was that the “Acanthus leaves are among the most common plants to be used as ornamental elements in architecture and interior design.” If you are looking for something different for your garden, I recommend this plant. If you already have it in your garden, I would love to see some photos!

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Hi Stephanie, Just wanted to let you know I enjoy getting the Beyond Behnke’s newsletter! As to the acanthus, I want one! What a great unusual plant! Now, where to find one …..? Have a great summer. Tony

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