The Oyster Plant, otherwise known as Acanthus Mollis, is a robust plant distinguishable by
its glossy green foliage and jagged-edged leaves. In late Spring, the plant blossoms with soft
pink and purple flowers that emerge from tall, upright spikes. The word Mollis means ‘soft
and smooth’, referring to the texture of the leaves.
Intriguingly, the plant has significant historical background, having survived from Ancient
Greek and Roman times. In bygone eras, a motif shaped like an Oyster Plant leaf was used
to embellish the tops of Corinthian pillars. Greek sculptor, Callimachus, was particularly
inspired by the plant, and designed most of his columns with the plant’s shape crowning
them. The Oyster Plant’s influence on Greco-Roman architecture is still visible on numerous
buildings today, particularly in Athens.
Overtime, the plant’s enduring nature developed into a symbol of immortality. This
symbolism is recognisable in many graveyards, where the plant is carved decoratively into
headstones to represent the afterlife and perpetuity of the soul. According to historical
records, European monasteries have utilised the plant for medical purposes.
When in the correct conditions, an Oyster Plant can grow relatively fast. At maximum size, it
can be nearly two metres high and two metres wide. It is best to plant an Oyster Plant
between Spring-Summer, as the warmer months allow the plant to grow and flourish. For
optimal chance at cultivation, Oyster Plants should be planted in areas with full sun exposure
or, at the very least, partial sun exposure.
Gardeners love Oyster Plants as they are considered low maintenance and require little
watering once established. In Australia, the best climate for the plant is nearer to the coast,
as opposed to the dry centre of the country. This is because a deep, moist soil is more
appropriate than a desiccated one.
You can enjoy this magical plant during a stay with us, click on the link and book Bendles Cottages