Barleria dinteri

Family : Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Common names : Leather leaf barleria (Eng.); Ludwigslust barleria (Afr.)

This is one of the less well known barlerias, suitable for a sunny spot in your garden.

An armed herb up to 300 mm high. Leaves leathery, dull green , oblong to oblanceolate, base tapering into a short petiole, apex ends in a sharp point, midvein and lateral veins prominent. Stems angular, young stems less woody and covered with hairs, internodes variable in length

Flowers are yellow, solitary in the upper axils, short upper internodes between the uppermost flowers give the impression of a terminal inflorescence. Corolla 2-lipped, the upper lip 4-lobed, the lower lip entire and sometimes shorter than the upper lip; corolla subtended by stiff, spinous, lanceolate calyx lobes; corolla tube short and cylindrical. Stamens and stigma brightly coloured. Axillary spines 24 in clusters. Flowering time: November to March during which flowers appear sporadically.

Fruit a capsule, turgid and rounded at the base and the apex ends in a stout solid conical beak. There are 2 seeds per capsule. Ripe capsules explode, when moistened, to distribute the seed.

Distribution and habitat
Occurs in Namibia, Botswana, Limpopo, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Swaziland. In Limpopo plants grow on limestone-rich soils, in full sun.

Barleria dinteri

Conservation status
LC. (Least Concern).

Derivation of name and historical aspects
Named after Prof. Moritz Kurt Dinter (18681945), a German botanist famous for explorations in Namibia.

Barleria dinteri is pollinated by insects and attracts various species of butterflies.  

Uses and cultural aspects
Barleria dinteri can be recommended as a garden subject. No cultural uses have been recorded.


Growing Barleria dinteri

Barleria dinteri can be propagated either by seed or cuttings.

Seed: Collect the seeds as the capsules begin to turn brown. The seeds should be planted in a mixture of two parts good soil and one part compost. Place the seed tray in a shady spot. Water once a week. Seed germination takes place after 610 days. Transplanting seedlings into bags or pots should be done when the seedlings are more or less 100 mm high.

Cuttings: Barleria dinteri is difficult to grow from cuttings. Take semi-hardwood cuttings, 120 mm long, in summer. Treat the cuttings with hormone powder to stimulate root grow. Use a mixture of even parts soil and river sand as a growing medium. Put the container with cuttings in a shady place and water twice a week. Transplant the rooted cuttings after about three to four months into a good soil mixture. Expect a success rate of 30%.

References and further reading

  • Obermeijer, A.A. 1931. A revision of the South African species of Barleria . Annals of the Transvaal Museum 15,2: 123180.
  • Van der Walt, R. 2009. Wild flowers of the Limpopo Valley. Retha van der Walt


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