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Products > Barleria obtusa
 
Barleria obtusa - Bush Violet
   

[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus¹)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Blue
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Synonyms: [B. uitenagensis]
Height: 2-3 feet
Width: 4-5 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25° F
Barleria obtusa (Bush Violet) - An evergreen shrub that grows to 3 feet tall by 5 feet wide with opposite pairs of dark green 1 inch long rounded leaves that have soft hairs along the margins. Clusters of 1 inch wide blue flowers appear at the branch tips in the fall and winter. Plant in full sun or partial shade, water infrequently - once established is quite drought tolerant in coastal gardens. Hardy to 20-25° F. In deep shade plants often grow taller and clamber up if supported by other plants or structures. Can reseed a bit in the garden but not to the extent of being pesky. A great soft rounded low shrub for the garden that is attractive to bees, butterflies and nectar feeding birds. This plant occurs naturally from the Soutpansberg in the Northern Province, Mpumalanga, and KwaZulu Natal and further to the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa where it can be found growing quite commonly on hills and along forest margins in subtropical regions. The genus was named by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1753 to honor Jacques Barrelier (1606-1673), a French physician, botanist, plant collector, author and Dominican monk who is often cited as the Rev. James Barrelier. The specific epithet given this plant in 1841 by the German botanist Christian Gottfried Daniel Nees von Esenbeck is the Latin word meaning "blunt", "dull" or "obtuse", likely in reference to the rounded or dull leaves. In tropical Africa the leaves are cooked as a vegetable and the plant is used for medicinal purposes.  This description is based on research and observations of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in our nursery garden and in other gardens that we visit. We also incorporate comments received and appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have any additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Barleria obtusa.