Not a weed

It took me a few days of computer searching before I finally discovered the identity of this “weed” that persists in growing in my yard. Google’s image search kept trying to tell me it was fritillaria, or digitalis, or even a marijuana bud! In fact, the name of this plant is Acanthus spinosus — though it also goes by the curious name of bear’s breeches.

Because they look a bit like spiny thistles — and because I can never seem to get rid of them — I always thought of them as weeds. Now I find out they are originally from the Mediterranean regions and have a very long history, even figuring in ancient Greek and Roman culture. Perhaps I should start learning to love these dramatic and stubborn plants!


  1. We actually planted these in our front yard over 10 years ago. First saw them in Golden Gate Park in SF. Be careful, this plant spits out a brown seed with a very loud “pop”. This is how it reproduces.

Leave a Reply