Acanthus ilicifolius L. (Images by Satish Phadke (1,2)  & Prasad Kumar Dash (3))

Acanthus mollis L. (Images by Muthu Karthick (2,3) & Gurcharan Singh (1,4), Validated by Gurcharan Singh (Inserted by J.M.Garg))

Acanthus mollis L. (Images by Muthu Karthick (Identified by J.M.Garg & Gurcharan Singh (Inserted by J.M.Garg))

Acanthus montanus (Nees) T.Anderson (Images by TSP Kumar (Id by Jayanthi Janakiraman) (Inserted by J.M.Garg) (For more images & complete details, click on the links))

Acanthus spinosus L. (Cultivated- USA) Images by Gurcharan Singh (Inserted by J.M.Garg)

Karthikeyan et al. (2009) have mentioned following species of Acanthus in India:
  1. Acanthus carduaceus Griff.
  2. A. ebracteatus Vahl
  3. A. ilicifolius L.
  4. A. leucostachyus Wall. ex Nees
  5. A. mollis L. (cultivated)
  6. A. volubilis Wall.


Karthikeyan, S., Sanjappa, M. and Moorthy, S. 2009. Flowering Plants of India, Dicotyledons, vol-I (Acanthaceea- Avicenniaceae). Botanical Survey of India, Kolkata. pp. 1.  

A. mollis has leaves less deeply divided without spinose teeth, bracts and calyx teeth are are not spinose, calyx lobes hairy along margin
In both A. montanus and A. spinosus (syn: A. spinosissimus) the leaf lobes and bracts are spinose.
In A. montanus leaves are glossy green above, less deeply pinnatifid; In A. spinosus the leaves are rigid, leathery, deeply pinnatifid with rigid spinose teeth

Binomial Habit Notes References Distribution Common name
Acanthus ilicifolius L. Shrub Mangroves Flora of Tamil Nadu, VOL. II, 1987 Chennai, Cuddalore, Thanjavur, Tiruchchirappalli, Viluppuram Attrumulli, Kazhudaimulli, Kozhimulli
Acanthus mollis L. Herb Western Ghats, Evergreen Forests Flora of Tamil Nadu, VOL. II, 1987 Nilgiri  

Botanical nameFamilyCommon name
Acanthus ilicifolius Acanthaceae Sea Holly
Acanthus montanus (Cultivated) Acanthaceae Mountain Thistle
Acanthus spinosus (Cultivated) Acanthaceae Bear's Breeches

Acanthus ebracteatus Vahl (Syn: Acanthus ilicifolius Linnaeus var. ebracteatus (Vahl) Benoist)
Ecology and Biodiversity of Indian Mangroves By Kumudranjan Naskar, Rathindranath Mandal - Details with keys-
Biodiversity in India, Volume 4 edited by T. Pullaiah (2006)-
Medicinal Plants in Andhra Pradesh, India By T. Pullaiah (2002)- Details-
Applied Botany Abstracts, Volumes 1-4 - Economic Botany Information Service, National Botanical Research Institute, 1981-
Acanthus carduaceus Griffith— A Scarcely Known Endemic Plant from West Bengal. J. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc, 1981, 78(3) : 635—37. SlKDAR, J. K. and MAlTl. G. G. Central National Herbarium. Botanical Survey of lndia, Howrah, lndia.

I have added lists of Indian species of Acanthus, Blepharis and Dicliptera in eFI.
Thanks a lot, ... Species at other links matches well with these.
Pl. go through Acanthus page with images of species (done by me) in efloraofindia. If you find any mis-identification, pl. let us know. If anybody can send images of other species of this genera (for incorporation in the website), if any, it will be really nice. Also, if anybody is interested to take up the activity of inserting images on efloraofindia pages from efloraofindia posts, pl. let me know.