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 (A. mollis is bear's breech), Asia, and Africa (A. illicifolius grows in mangrove swamps).