A perennial plant (Acanthus mollis) with spiny leaves and flower spikes, common in the Mediterranean region. The acanthus is one of the most common plant forms used in architectural decoration (for example, in the ancient Greek Corinthian capital).


Acanthus plants growing on the Palatine Hill, Rome.


Corinthian capital from the Odeion of Agrippa, Athens. Ca. 14 BCE. Photo:  Konstantinos Stampoulis