Acantha (Greek: Ἀκάνθα, English translation: "thorny") was a minor character in Greek mythology. She was a nymph loved by Apollo, the sun god. In one version of the story, Acantha refused Apollo's advances and scratched his face when he tried to rape her. Apollo then turned her into an acanthus plant. [ [ Women in Greek Myths, "Acantha"] , Accessed: 11 June 2006.] According to "Encyclopedia Mythica", she was the guardian spirit of the acanthus "tree" after being turned into the "sun-loving herb" upon her death. [ [ Encyclopedia Mythica, "Acantha"] , Accessed: 11 June 2006.] Another version features Acantha as a mortal man who returned Apollo's advances. [ [ OEDILF "Acantha"] ] The matter of Acantha's identity is further confused by the fact that the acanthus plant is not a tree, but a shrub or bush, and therefore is unlikely to have had a nymph associated with it. This may simply indicate that it was perceived to be a tree at the time the myth was created.


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  • Acantha — A*can tha, n. [Gr. ? thorn, fr. ? point. See {Acute}.] 1. (Bot.) A prickle. [1913 Webster] 2. (Zo[ o]l.) A spine or prickly fin. [1913 Webster] 3. (Anat.) The vertebral column; the spinous process of a vertebra. Dunglison. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • acantha — n. [Gr. akantha, thorn, spine] Spinous process; prickle …   Dictionary of invertebrate zoology

  • acantha — a·can·tha (ə kănʹthə) n. pl. a·can·thae ( thē) A sharp spiny part or structure, such as the spinous process of a vertebra.   [New Latin, from Greek akantha, thorn.] * * * …   Universalium

  • acantha — noun a) A prickle. b) A spine or prickly fin …   Wiktionary

  • acantha — 1. A spine or spinous process. 2. The spinous process of a vertebra. [G. akantha, a thorn] * * * n. 1. a spine projecting from a vertebra. 2. the backbone …   Medical dictionary

  • acantha — É™ kænθʌ n. spike, thorn (Botany); spiny process (Zoology); spinal column; projecting part of a vertebra …   English contemporary dictionary

  • acantha — acan·tha …   English syllables

  • acantha — n. 1) a spine projecting from a vertebra. 2) the backbone …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • acantha —   n. spine, spinous fin.    ♦ acanthaceous, a. spiny or prickly …   Dictionary of difficult words

  • acantha — noun any sharply pointed projection • Syn: ↑spur, ↑spine • Derivationally related forms: ↑acanthous, ↑spinous (for: ↑spine), ↑spur (fo …   Useful english dictionary