Named after the genus Acanthus (Bear's breeches) of which Acanthus mollis is the best known and has been used as the aesthetic basis for capitals in the Corinthian order of architecture. Acanthus was the greek term for Acanthus mollis.
From the Greek aspharagos, the name given to the edible Asparagus. A wide-spread genus which is greatly in need of revision. The root-system is an important character in the grouping, but owing to the inadequacy of the existing descriptions and the imperfection of the type specimens, correct identification is often very difficult. The flowering seasons seem to depend very largely on habitat. Some of the spiny species are called Wag-’n-bietjie.
Gk. eu- = well; phorbe = pasture or fodder; probably after Euphorbus, Greek physician to Juba II, King of Mauretania. Juba was educated in Rome and married the daughter of Antony and Cleopatra. He was apparently interested in botany and had written about an African cactus-like plant from the slopes of Mount Atlas, which he had found or knew about, which was used as a powerful laxative. That plant may have been Euphorbia resinifera, and like all Euphorbias had a latexy exudate (milky emulsion from certain plants). Euphorbus had a brother named Antonius Musa who was the physician to Augustus Caesar in Rome. When Juba heard that Caesar had honoured his physician with a statue, he decided to honour his own physician by naming the plant he had written about after him.