Acanthus polystachyus Delile

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Acanthus polystachyus

Photo: Bart Wursten
Greystone Park NR

Acanthus polystachyus

Photo: Bart Wursten
Greystone Park NR

Acanthus polystachyus

Photo: Bart Wursten
Greystone Park NR

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Acanthus pubescens (Oliv.) Engl.
Common names: Prickly acanthus (English)
Frequency: Occasional but potentially invasive
Status: Introduced
Large, vigorous, shrub-like perennial herb, up to several metres tall. Leaves large, oblong-elliptic, the coarsely undulate-dentate margins set with sharp prickles. Flowers in terminal spikes, bright pink.
Notes: Det. from named specimens in SRGH. An occasional escape on roadsides and other disturbed areas around Harare; usually not far from gardens.
Derivation of specific name:
Habitat: In grassy areas, e.g. on roadsides
Altitude range: (metres)
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Native to Burundi, Rwanda, DRC, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania.
Zimbabwe distribution: C,E
Growth form(s): Shrub over 2 m.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Maroyi, A. (2006). Preliminary checklist of introduced and naturalized plants in Zimbabwe. Kirkia 18(2) Page 193.

Vollesen, K. (2013). Acanthaceae (Part 1) Flora Zambesiaca 8(5) Page 56. noted only as cultivated and spelled A.polystachius.

Other sources of information about Acanthus polystachyus:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Acanthus polystachyus
Flora of Zambia: cultivated Acanthus polystachyus
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Acanthus polystachyus

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Acanthus polystachyus
African Plant Database: Acanthus polystachyus
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Acanthus polystachyus
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Acanthus polystachyus
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Acanthus polystachyus
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Acanthus polystachyus
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Acanthus polystachyus
JSTOR Plant Science: Acanthus polystachyus
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Acanthus polystachyus
Plants of the World Online: Acanthus polystachyus
Tropicos: Acanthus polystachyus
Wikipedia: Acanthus polystachyus

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Acanthus polystachyus., retrieved 13 April 2024

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