Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition
Acanthus ilicifolius L.
Acanthus ilicifolius L., Species Plantarum Edn. 1, 2: 639(1753), Type: "Habitat in India."
Holly Mangrove; Mangrove Holly; Mangrove, Holly-leaved; Holly-leaved Mangrove; Bear's Breech
Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1-1.5 m tall.
Twigs with 2-4 axillary spines at each leaf node, each spine about 5-7 mm long. Leaf blades about 7.5-18.5 x 2.5-5 cm, holly-like (Ilex aquifolium) with about 4 or 5 major spine-tipped lobes on each side of the leaf blade with or without additional minor spine-tipped lobes. The major lateral veins extend to the margins of the leaf blade and then beyond the margins as spines about 2-3 mm long.
Sepals four, two large and two small. Larger sepals 2-lobed at the apex. Lower lip of the corolla 3-lobed and upper lip absent. Corolla about 2.5 cm long. Stamens with thick curved bony filaments. Anthers 1-celled, with stiff white hairs along the sutures. Pollen yellow. Ovary green, glabrous with two superposed ovules in each locule. Style about 17-18 mm long, scarcely notched at the apex.
Cotyledons about 14-21 x 18-21 mm, rather thick and fleshy, base auriculate. First pair of leaves with toothed or smooth margins. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf margin armed with spines or pungent points. Stems clothed with purple, slightly raised glands. Seed germination time 27 to 41 days.
Acanthus ilicifolius L. var. ilicifolius, Prodromus 11: 269(1847). Acanthus ilicifolius var. typica Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 1157(1928).