Anchor Plant Colletia paradoxa

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
anchor plant


The plant commonly known as the Anchor plant is a truly unique specimen largely due to its peculiar and striking form. Instead of the typical leaves you might expect on a shrub, the Anchor plant presents an array of sharp, flattened, bladelike structures which serve as modified leaves. These are a deep green color, and they jut out at various angles, giving the plant a somewhat chaotic and tangled appearance. These "leaves" closely resemble anchors or fish hooks, which is where the common name derives from. Additionally, small, inconspicuous white flowers may emerge at certain times of the year. These blooms can have a sweet fragrance and add a subtle contrast to the sharp, aggressive shapes of the leaves. The overall appearance of the Anchor plant is quite distinctive and can add an architectural element to any garden setting.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Anchor Plant, Jet Plane Plant, Crucifixion Thorn.

    • Common names

      Colletia cruciata, Colletia ferox, Colletia spinosa.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Anchor plant is not commonly known to be toxic to humans. However, as with many plants, it may cause mild irritation or an allergic reaction in some individuals upon contact with skin or if ingested. There is no well-documented case of poisoning from this plant in humans. If ingested, individuals should monitor for any symptoms of gastrointestinal distress or allergic reactions and seek medical attention if symptoms arise.

    • To pets

      Anchor plant is not widely recognized as toxic to pets. Nevertheless, it is always prudent to prevent pets from ingesting plants, as they can sometimes cause gastrointestinal upset or an allergic reaction. If a pet ingests this plant, watch for signs of nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, and contact a veterinarian if any worrying symptoms occur.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      6-8 feet (1.8-2.4 meters)

    • Spread

      6-8 feet (1.8-2.4 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      Argentina Uruguay


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: Colletia paradoxa, also known as "anchor plant," boasts unique, sculptural forms and tiny flowers, making it an interesting addition to gardens.
    • Drought Tolerance: The anchor plant is well-suited to xeriscaping as it thrives in dry conditions, reducing the need for irrigation.
    • Low Maintenance: It requires minimal care once established, making it ideal for gardeners seeking plants that do not demand frequent attention.
    • Wildlife Attraction: The small flowers produce a sweet scent that attracts pollinators, aiding the propagation of both the plant and the local ecosystem.
    • Soil Erosion Control: The sturdy, deep-root system helps to stabilize the soil, preventing erosion in the areas where it is planted.
    • Windbreak: The dense, spiny structure can act as a windbreak, protecting nearby plants and reducing wind damage in gardens.
    • Hedge Plant: It can be used to create a living fence due to its thorny branches, which may deter unwanted foot traffic and animals.
    • Unique Texture: The plant’s unusual appearance provides textural contrast in landscapes, complementing both foliage and flowering plants.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Crucifixion Thorns are used as living fences due to their dense and thorny growth, effectively deterring animals and unauthorized human access.
    • Due to its odd appearance and striking silhouette, Crucifixion Thorn is utilized in xeriscaping and as a conversation piece in drought-tolerant gardens.
    • With its resilient nature, Crucifixion Thorn is often planted in coastal areas and used for erosion control on slopes and embankments.
    • The wood of the Crucifixion Thorn is dense and can be used in small woodworking projects, such as handles and ornamental objects.
    • The sharp thorns of the Crucifixion Thorn have been traditionally used as natural needles or pins for small-scale repair work.
    • As an adaptation to windy environments, the plant is sometimes used as a windbreak in gardens and farms.
    • The eccentric leafless branches of Crucifixion Thorn can be treated and used in indoor floral arrangements to add a stark, architectural element.
    • During times of drought, the water-storing capabilities of Crucifixion Thorn offer a supplementary source of moisture for wildlife.
    • Seed collectors prize the Crucifixion Thorn for its unique seedpods, which can be used in seed exchange programs focused on exotic and drought-resistant species.
    • The textural contrast provided by Crucifixion Thorn is used in landscape photography to create dramatic and visually appealing compositions.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The plant commonly known as Anchor Plant is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Anchor Plant is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Protection: Colletia paradoxa, commonly known as the Anchor Plant, is equipped with sharp thorns that resemble anchors or fish hooks, symbolizing protection and defense against harm.
    • Paradox: The Anchor Plant's name indicates a paradoxical nature, symbolizing complexity, surprise, and the unexpected, given its unorthodox and unique appearance for a plant.
    • Resilience: Native to South America, the Anchor Plant can thrive in arid conditions, representing durability, strength, and the ability to withstand challenging environments.

Every 2-3 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Crucifixion Thorn should be watered sparingly, as it is a drought-tolerant plant that prefers dry conditions. A good rule is to water once every two weeks, providing 1 gallon of water each time for a medium-sized plant. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so it's important to err on the side of underwatering rather than giving it too much. During the winter months, reduce watering to once a month or less, depending on humidity levels and temperature.

  • sunLight

    Crucifixion Thorn prefers full sun exposure to thrive. The ideal spot for this plant would be in an area where it receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. It is well-suited to outdoor growth in sunny, hot areas, and should not be placed in the shade as this can hinder its growth and flowering potential.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Crucifixion Thorn is adaptable to a range of temperatures, but ideal conditions are within 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It can handle temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit, but prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures can be harmful. Avoid placing this plant in areas where extreme cold or heat is common, as they are sensitive to abrupt temperature changes.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the Crucifixion Thorn is essential to maintain its shape and remove any broken or diseased branches. It's best to prune this plant in late winter or early spring, before new growth starts. Pruning can be done annually, carefully shaping the plant and removing any unwanted growth. Always use clean, sharp tools to make precise cuts and minimize damage to the plant.

  • broomCleaning

    Not needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Anchor Plant (Colletia paradoxa) prefers a well-draining soil mix with additions such as perlite or gravel to ensure good drainage; a slightly acidic to neutral pH of about 6.0-7.0 is ideal for optimal growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Anchor Plants should be repotted every two to three years to refresh the soil and allow for root growth; however, frequent repotting is not necessary due to its slow-growing nature.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Anchor Plant tolerates a wide range of humidity levels but thrives best in moderate conditions; it does not require high humidity and can handle dry air.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright, indirect light and avoid overwatering.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in sunny spot with well-draining soil; shelter from strong winds.

    • Hardiness zone

      7-10 USDA.

  • circleLife cycle

    The life of Ankertwys starts with germination from a seed, once the right conditions of temperature, moisture, and light are met. The seedling then emerges and establishes its roots and starts to grow its unique, spiny, photosynthetic stems as it lacks conventional leaves. As a slow-growing shrub, it matures over several years, during which it develops its unusual zig-zagging branches. Upon reaching maturity, Ankertwys produces scented white or creamy flowers that bloom at night, typically in the spring, aiming to attract pollinators like moths. Once pollinated, these flowers develop into dry, papery fruit that holds the seeds. The cycle completes as the fruit eventually disseminates the seeds, thus enabling the next generation to begin their growth provided they land in a suitable location.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • Propogation: The most popular method of propagation for the Colletia paradoxa, commonly known as the Anchor Plant, is by seed. To propagate by seed, the best time is generally in the fall, right after the seeds have matured. The seeds are sown in a well-draining soil mix, and they require a cold stratification period to break dormancy; this can be achieved by keeping the seeds in a refrigerator at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celsius) for several weeks. After stratification, the seeds are planted at a shallow depth of approximately a quarter to half an inch (6.35 to 12.7 millimeters) and kept consistently moist until germination, which can take several weeks to a few months. It's crucial to provide proper care during germination, such as maintaining the right temperature and moisture levels and protecting the seeds from any pests or diseases that could inhibit their growth.