Acanthus mollis is a rhizomatous, perennial herb. It has upright stems that grow up to 1 m long and are hairless. Leaves are borne on petioles up to 50 cm long and are about 30 cm by 50 cm, hairless, and with deeply pinnate lobes that are acutely toothed The characteristic inflorescence, which can bring the total height of the A. mollis plant up to 2 m high, has white corollas with purple veins (3.5 - 5 cm long) and appears in summer.Seeds are foremd in dry capsules although most spread appears to be vegetative (Conn 2005; Stace et al. Undated a; Williams 2008).
Acanthus mollis can grow in a variety of soil types, including clay, and those that are dry and sandy. It prefers light to medium soil types. It can grow in partial shade or full sun; and it is cold hardy and drought tolerant. A. mollis is frequently cultivated in gardens; it can be found growing on waste land, roadsides and railway banks. A. mollis has also been found in coastal areas, disturbed areas, forests, riparian zones, scrublands and urban areas (ARPS 2007-2012; NPPA undated; Stace et al. undated a).
Acanthus mollis reproduces by seed, which is spread via water currents, gravity and animals - seed setting occurs two years after germination. It can also reproduce via rhizomes, and vegetatively, via root fragments. (ARC 2008; Hosking et al. 2008; Williams 2008).
Acanthus mollis plants found to be growing in places where garden waste is dumped (Hosking et al. 2007). Acanthus mollis seeds for sale online, for example in New Zealand on a internet auction/classified website, http://www.trademe.co.nz (Trade Me 2010).
Compiler: IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from the Auckland Regional Council (ARC)
Review: Dr. Peter Williams, Landcare Research, Nelson
Publication date: 2010-11-01
Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2021) Species profile: Acanthus mollis. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=1663 on 25-09-2021.