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Acanthus spinosus

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Acanthus spinosus - Bear's breeches  - Click to enlarge

 

Acanthus spinosus - Bear's breeches

 

Acanthus spinosus - Bear's breeches  - Click to enlarge

 

Acanthus spinosus

 

Acanthus spinosus - Bear's breeches  - Click to enlarge

 

Acanthus spinosus - detail

 

Acanthus spinosus is a widedespread eastern Mediterraenan perennial plant which can grow as tall as 80cm in abandoned fields, rocky places, olive groves and along roadsides. Its leaves are thistle-like and the flowers form a dense spike at the top of an erect stem.
It can grow as tall as 80cm and flowers in May and June at altitudes up to 800 metres.

I have no idea why they are commonly called Bear's breeches.

A close relative of this plant (not found in Crete) Acanthus mollis was used in architectural decoration of classical Greece on columns, scrolls and murals.

You can click on the pictures to enlarge.

 

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