Barleria lancifolia


Family : Acanthaceae
Common names
: No common name recorded.

Barleria lancifolia flower

Barleria lancifolia is an ideal plant to cover the hot bare sunny patches in your garden.

Barleria lancifolia is an unarmed “bushy” perennial herb up to 50 mm high. The leaves are lanceolate to ovate, simple and opposite. Young leaves and stems are covered with short soft white waxy hair. The petiole (leaf stalk) is very short. Flowers are solitary in the leaf axils. The corolla (flower petals) is 2-lipped. The upper lip is 4-lobed and the lower lip entire. Flower colour differs from light to dark mauve to white. The corolla tube is greenish. Two leaf-like structures, the bracts, surround the flower. Flowering time is from February to June.

Barleria lancifolia plantConservation status
Not threatened.

Distribution and habitat
Barleria lancifolia grows in rocky places amongst grasses and shrubs, and has been collected in Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Limpopo, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Derivation of name and historical aspects
Lancifolia means with lance-shaped leaves.

Barleria lancifolia is pollinated by insects and attracts various species of butterflies. The seed capsules turn brown when they are ripe and explode to distribute the seed.

Uses and cultural aspects
Barleria lancifolia is quite suitable to cover all the sunny bare patches in your garden.

It can withstand drought and mild frost.

Growing Barleria lancifolia

Barleria lancifolia seedlingsBarleria lancifolia is propagated either by seed or cuttings.

Seed: To prevent seed loss collect the seed as soon as the seed capsules turn brown.

Plant the seed in a mixture of equal parts of river sand and good soil. Place the tray in a shady spot and water well once a week. Ideal soil and air temperature for optimal germination is between 20 and 28 °C. Transplant the seedlings in separate pots when they are more or less 100 mm high.

Cuttings: Take softwood cuttings, 120 mm in length, dip in a hormone powder and plant them in a mixture of equal parts of good soil and river sand. The best temperatures for rooting cuttings are between 20 and 30 °C. Place the container with cuttings in a cool shady place and water well twice a week. Transplant the rooted cuttings into a good soil mixture (after 3–5 months).

Pests and disease: There are no known pests or diseases that attack Barleria lancifolia.


References and further reading

  • Obermeijer, A.A. 1933. A revision of the South African species of Barleria. Annals of the Transvaal Museum 15,2: 123–180.
  • Germishuizen,G., Meyer, N.L., Steenkamp,Y. & Keith, M. 2006 A checklist of South African plants. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 41. SABONET, Pretoria.



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Lowveld National Botanical Garden
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