oxford views updated May 18 2018
Acanthus (family Acanthaceae)
A genus of shrubs and perennial herbs
, most of which are xeromorphic
and have spiny leaves. Some species are cultivated as ornamentals. The upper lip of the corolla
is lacking. The pattern for the decoration on Corinthian column capitals is supposedly based on the leaves of A. spinosus
. There are 30 known species, found in southern Europe
is bear's breech), Asia
, and Africa (A. illicifolius
grows in mangrove swamps).
oxford views updated May 14 2018
Conventionalized representation of the leaf of the Acanthus spinosus
plant, found on the lower parts of Corinthian
and Composite capitals
, and also used for enrichment of various elements in Classical architecture. Vitruvius
tells of how a basket, placed over the grave of a maiden of Corinth, and protected by a tile, became festooned in acanthus-stalks and leaves, and was copied by Callimachus
in stylized form, thus creating the Corinthian capital.
oxford views updated May 23 2018
a·can·thus / əˈkan[unvoicedth]əs/ •
n. 1. a herbaceous plant or shrub (genus Acanthus, family Acanthaceae) with bold flower spikes and spiny leaves, native to Mediterranean regions. 2. Archit. a representation of an acanthus leaf, used as a decoration for Corinthian column capitals.
oxford views updated Jun 11 2018
Perennial plant with thistle-like leaves, found in Africa, the Mediterranean region, India
. It has lobed, often spiny leaves and white or coloured flower spikes. The pattern of the leaves in a stylized form is a common classical architectural motif. Family Acanthaceae.
oxford views updated May 17 2018
a conventionalized representation of the leaf of this plant is used especially as a decoration for Corinthian column capitals. The term in this sense dates from the mid 18th century; the name of the plant comes via Latin from Greek akanthos
, from akantha
‘thorn’, from akē