Barleria randii


Family: Acanthaceae
Common names: Matopos apricot barleria

Flowers and leaves B.randii

This barleria with its orange/yellow flowers and white leaf margins will be an attractive addition to a rock garden.

An armed herb up to 40 mm high; auxiliary spines 24, clustered. Leaves are ovate (egg-shaped) to broadly elliptic, stiffly leathery with thickened white margins, cuneate (wedge-shaped) at the base, with the leaf tips ending in sharp points.

Flowers orange/yellow, solitary in the upper axils (the angle between the stem and leaf stalk), corolla 2-lipped the upper lip 4-lobed and the lower lip entire. The corolla is subtended by oblong calyx lobes and the corolla tube is cylindrical. Stamens and stigma are brightly coloured. Flowering time is from December to February during which flowers appear sporadically.

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

Conservation status
Barleria randii is Red Listed as Least Concern.

Distribution and habitat
Occurs in Botswana, Zimbabwe, and in South Africa in North-West and Limpopo provinces. The plants in Limpopo grow in full sun in deep sandy soils.

Growing in habitat

Derivation of name and historical aspects
Named after Dr R.F. Rand, an English medical doctor and one of the earlier collectors in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

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

Uses and cultural aspects
Barleria randii is recommended as a garden subject. No cultural uses have been recorded.

1 year old plant from cutting

Growing Barleria randii

Barleria randii can be propagated either by seed or cuttings.

Collect the seed as the capsules turn brown. Plant seeds in a mixture of equal parts of coarse river sand, good soil and compost (October to February). Place the seed tray in a shady spot and water once a week. Seed germination takes place after 610 days. Transplant the seedlings into containers when they are 100 mm in size.

Barleria randii is difficult to grow from cuttings. Take semi-hardwood cuttings, 120 mm in size, in summer and treat the cuttings with a hormone powder to stimulate root growth. Use a mixture of even parts soil and river sand as a growing medium. Put the container in a shady place and water twice a week. Transplant the rooted cuttings after 34 months in a good soil mixture. Expect a success rate of 20%.

Barleria randii thrives in deep sandy soils and does well in full sun. It is a slow grower and takes about two years to become established. There are no specific pests and diseases affecting this species.

References and further reading

  • Plowes, D.C., Drummond, R.B. 1976. Wild flowers of Rhodesia . Longman, Rhodesia.
  • 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.
  • Retief, E. & Herman, P.P.J. 1977. Plants of the Northern Provinces of South Africa: Keys and diagnostic characters. Strelitzia 6. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.


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Willem Froneman

Lowveld National Botanical Garden/Glow

March 2014










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