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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - May 16, 2010

From: Vancouver, BC
Region: Canada
Topic: Non-Natives, Vines
Title: Problem with acanthus in Vancouver BC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My girlfriend's Mom just planted an Acanthus in her garden. In the morning, it apparently stands up tall, but in the evening it bends over until the the leaves are lying in the dirt. She's concerned there's something wrong with it. Is there?

ANSWER:

Not being able to see the plant, and since the climate in Vancouver is way different from Austin, TX, we did a little research to see what your friend's mother has in her garden.There is one plant with "acanthus" as one of its common names in our Native Plant Database, Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii (Wright's desert honeysuckle), which is in the family Acanthaceae and genus aniscanthus. It is  endemic to Texas, and can survive as far north as Dallas, although it may die down to the ground there and re-emerge in the spring.

So, we're thinking that is probably not the Acanthus your friend's mother planted. It is more likely that the plant is  Acanthus mollis, described in this Floridata site.  It also belongs to the Acanthaceae Family but the genus is aniscanthus.

Acanthus mollis is non-native to North America, instead being native to Africa, Temperate Asia and Europe, and therefore out of our range of expertise and not in our Native Plant Database. We suggest you compare the pictures from Google of Acanthus mollis, with the pictures below from our Native Plant Image Gallery of Aniscanthus quadrifidus.


Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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