Barleria dolomiticola

M.Balkwill & K.Balkwill

Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)
Common names: Wolkberg bush violet

Barleria dolomiticola flower and buds

Plant a Red Listed barleria in your garden and support the conservation of the species.

Barleria dolomiticola is an unarmed herb up to 250 mm high. Leaves are ovate or elliptic, grey-green, opposite, shortly petiolate, the base is broadly cuneate (wedge-shaped) and the leaf tip rounded or blunt. Young stems are less woody and covered with hairs.


Flowers are solitary in the leaf axils (the angle between the stem and the leaf stalk) off-white, pale lilac or mauve with dark purple markings down the centre of the corolla. The corolla is 2-lipped, with the upper lip 4-lobed and the lower lip entire. The corolla is subtended by ovate calyx lobes, and the corolla tube is cylindrical, with the stamens and stigma purple-coloured. Flowering time is from February to June; during this time the flowers open sporadically.

The fruit is a capsule, turgid at the base and the apex ends in a long woody beak. There are two seeds per capsule. Ripe capsules explode when moistened to distribute the seed.

Conservation status
Barleria dolomiticola is nationally Red Listed as Vulnerable (VU D1) because of its range-restricted distribution, the low number of individuals in the sub-population, and little conservation management.

Distribution and habitat
Only occurs in Limpopo Province where it grows in dolomite soils.

Derivation of name and historical aspects
The specific epithet is in reference to the geology of the area in which it occurs.

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

Uses and cultural aspects
Barleria dolomiticola can be recommended as a garden subject. It grows well as a groundcover in a sunny part of the garden. No cultural uses have been recorded.

Barleria dolomiticola

Growing Barleria dolomiticola

Barleria dolomiticola can be propagated by either seed or cuttings.

To grow from seed, collect the capsules as soon as they begin to turn brown. Open the capsules and harvest the seeds. Plant the seeds in a mixture of equal parts of river sand, good soil and compost. Place the container with planted seeds in a shady spot. Water once a week; germination takes place after 610 days. Transplant the seedlings when they are 100 mm in size.

Barleria dolomiticola grows easily from cuttings. Take soft wood cuttings in summer, (October to March) and cut the cuttings in 100 mm sizes. Treat the cuttings with a hormone powder and plant them in a mixture of two parts river sand and one part compost. Put the container with cuttings in a shady place and water twice a week. Transplant the rooted cuttings after four months into a good soil mixture and add 100 g dolomitic agriculture lime per kg soil mixture. Expect a success rate of 70%. There are no specific pests or diseases that affect Barleria dolomiticola.

References and further reading

  • Balkwill, M.-J., Stalmans, M. & Balkwill, K. 1992. Systematic studies in the Acanthaceae: A new species of Barleria from the north-eastern Transvaal with some notes on its ecology. C.E. Moss Herbarium, Department of Botany, University of the Witwatersrand.
  • Raimondo, D., Von Staden, L., Foden, W., Victor, J.E., Helme, N.A., Turner, R.C., Kamundi, D.A. & Manyama, P.A. 2009. Red List of South African Plants. Strelitzia 25. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.


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Willem Froneman

Lowveld National Botanical Garden/Glow

April 2014










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