To cover the bare sunny spots between rocks in your garden you need Barleria rogersii.
Barleria rogersii is an unarmed (without thorns) perennial herb or subshrub up to 0.8 m high. The leaves are simple, opposite, elliptic, and both sides of the leaves and the stems are covered with star-like hairs. The petioles (leaf stalks) are short. The flowers are arranged in a loose terminal spike. The corolla (petals of the flower) is 2-lipped. The upper lip is 2-lobed and the lower lip 3-lobed. The lips are more or less the same size. The corolla is bluish-mauve and the corolla tube white. A fruit capsule bears the seeds. The base of each flower is covered by two small leaf -like structures called bracts. Ripe fruit capsules explode to distribute the seeds in different directions.
Distribution and habitat
Barleria rogersii grows in well-drained sandy soils, in full sun and has been collected in the Limpopo Province, Namibia, Angola and Mozambique.
Derivation of name and historical aspects
Named after Rev. F.A. Rogers (1876-1944), railway missionary and later Archdeacon of Polokwane. He was a prolific plant collector and went on several collecting trips with people like Professor C.E. Moss.
Barleria rogersii is pollinated by insects and attracts various species of butterflies.
Uses and cultural aspects
Barleria species are exceptionally suitable to stabilize eroding soil, landscaping waterwise gardens, rockeries and sunny areas in the garden.
Growing Barleria rogersii
Propagation of Barleria rogersii takes place either by seed or cuttings.
Seed: To prevent seed being lost it can be collected as the capsules turn brown and before they explode.The seeds should be planted in a mixture of two parts good soil and one part clean river sand. Place the container in a shady spot in your garden and water once a week.
Germination of the seeds takes place within a week. Transplanting the seedlings into bags should be done when the seedlings are more or less 100 mm high.
Cuttings: should be made in summer, making use of softwood plant material. Take cuttings 70–120 mm long, treat with a hormone powder and plant in a mixture of even parts good soil and river sand. Put the cuttings in a shady place and water twice a week. Transplant the rooted cuttings after about three months into a good soil mixture.
References and further reading
- Little, John. R. & Jones, C. Eugene 1980. A dictionary of Botany. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York Cincinnatti, Toronto, Melbourne.
- National Herbarium Nederland, www.gbif.net/species/browse/texon/8035408.
- Obermeyer, A.A. The South African species of Blepharis. Annals of the Transvaal Museum 19,1.
Lowveld National Botanical Garden