Area like this contains container for plant (8)
I believe the answer is:
'plant' is the definition.
(acanthus is a kind of plant)
'area like this contains container' is the wordplay.
'area' becomes 'a' (maths abbreviation).
'like this' becomes 'thus' (I've seen this before).
'contains' is an insertion indicator.
'container' becomes 'can' (can is a kind of container**).
'athus' going around 'can' is 'ACANTHUS'.
'for' acts as a link.
(Other definitions for acanthus that I've seen before include "Prickly-leaved shrub" , "Bush?" , "capital decoration" , "Kind of leaves" , "Widely grown Mediterranean plant with spiny leaves" .)