Barleria L.

This genus is accepted, and its native range is Tropics & Subtropics.


Darbyshire, I., Tripp, E.A. & Chase, F.M. (2019). A taxonomic revision of Acanthaceae tribe Barlerieae in Angola and Namibia. Part 1. Kew Bulletin 74: 5.

Morphology General Habit
Perennial herbs, suffrutices, shrubs or climbers, sometimes spiny; stems angular or subterete; cystoliths present, numerous, often occuring in adjacent cells and sometimes appearing to cross, ± conspicuous
Morphology Leaves
Leaves evergreen or deciduous, opposite-decussate, petiolate or sessile, pairs equal or somewhat anisophyllous, margin (sub) entire or more rarely toothed or spinose
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx divided almost to the base, 4-lobed, anterior and posterior (outer) lobes usually considerably larger and proportionally broader than the lateral (inner) lobes, anterior lobe often emarginate or bifid
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla usually showy; tube cylindrical throughout or campanulate to funnel-shaped above insertion point of stamens; limb 5-lobed or rarely the adaxial pair fully fused or absent, subregular to zygomorphic. Perfected stamens 2 or rarely 4; filaments inserted at various levels within the corolla tube, anterior pair of stamens with filaments twisted through 180° and crossing near the base; anthers bithecous, thecae parallel, muticous, exserted or rarely included within the corolla tube; staminodes (or imperfect stamens) 2 or 3, adaxial staminode often less well developed than the lateral pair or absent, with or without antherodes, these often producing a few pollen grains
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Disc
Disk cupular
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Ovary
Ovary 2-locular, 2 ovules per locule or one aborting very early; style filiform; stigma subcapitate to linear, either with 2 subconfluent lobes, or with 1 lobe much-reduced or absent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsule ± compressed laterally, fertile portion rounded to fusiform, with or without a prominent sterile apical beak, placental base inelastic but lateral walls sometimes thin and tearing from the thickened flanks at dehiscence; seeds 2 or 4 per capsule, held on retinacula, usually (ovate- or triangular-) discoid and with surfaces covered in long hygroscopic hairs, rarely only subflattened and with unevenly distributed minute hairs.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences simple and axillary or compounded into a terminal synflorescence; cymose with monochasial and/or dichasial branching or cymes reduced to a single flower; bract pairs (sub-)equal, foliaceous or reduced and/or highly modified; bracteole pairs equal or dimorphic, often highly modified from the bracts
Type species: Barleria cristata L.


M. Thulin et al. Flora of Somalia, Vol. 1-4 [updated 2008]

Morphology General Habit
Perennial herbs or shrubs
Morphology Leaves
Leaves entire, simple, dentate, or transformed into spines; cystoliths in tandem pairs
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx 4-lobed with 2 outer broader lobes and 2 inner more narrow ones, of the outer lobes the upper one is often somewhat longer and the lower one 2-fid or more obtuse, often with 2 equally strong veins running in parallel from the base
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla slightly irregular to zygomorphic, funnel-shaped or with cylindrical tube
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens 2 or 4, if 4 often with 2 exserted stamens and 2 included in the tube
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsule 2- or 4-seeded.
Pantropical genus of some 290 species, all but one in the Old World.
According to the infrageneric classification proposed by Balkwill & Balkwill in Kew Bull. 52: 535–573 (1997) species n. 1–9 below would belong to sect. Barleria, n. 10 and 11 to sect. Fissimura, n. 12 to sect. Stellatohirta, n. 13–17 to sect. Somalia, and n. 18–25 to sect. Prionitis.

Native to:

Aldabra, Andaman Is., Angola, Assam, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Burkina, Burundi, Cabinda, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Provinces, Caprivi Strip, Central African Repu, Chad, China South-Central, China Southeast, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Djibouti, East Himalaya, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Free State, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gulf States, Guyana, Hainan, Honduras, India, Ivory Coast, Jawa, Kenya, KwaZulu-Natal, Laccadive Is., Laos, Lesser Sunda Is., Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaya, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, New Guinea, Nicaragua, Nicobar Is., Niger, Nigeria, Northern Provinces, Oman, Pakistan, Panamá, Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Socotra, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sulawesi, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Venezuela, Vietnam, West Himalaya, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

Introduced into:

Bahamas, Brazil South, Caroline Is., Christmas I., Cuba, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Florida, French Guiana, Haiti, Hawaii, Jamaica, Leeward Is., Marianas, Marquesas, Marshall Is., Nauru, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, Niue, Puerto Rico, Rodrigues, Réunion, Seychelles, Society Is., Southwest Caribbean, Trinidad-Tobago, Venezuelan Antilles, Windward Is.

Barleria L. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
Drummond, R.B. [1300], Tanzania 13065.000 No
Drummond, R.B. [2377], Tanzania 4210.000 No
Finlayson, G. [Cat. no. s.n.] K001132506 Yes

First published in Sp. Pl.: 636 (1753)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. (1996). World Checklist of Seed Plants 2(1, 2): 1-492. MIM, Deurne.
  • Shendage, S.M. & Yadav, S.R. (2010). Revision of the genus Barleria (Acanthaceae) in India Rheedea 20: 81-130.


Kew Bulletin

  • Baillon, M. H. (1890). Sur quelques types anomaux d’Acanthacées. Bull. Mens. Soc. Linn. Paris 2: 835 – 838.
  • Balkwill, M. J. & Balkwill, K. (1997). Delimitation and infra-generic classification of Barleria (Acanthaceae). Kew Bull. 52: 535 – 573.
  • Balkwill, M. J. & Balkwill, K. (1998). A preliminary analysis of distribution patterns in a large, pantropical genus, Barleria L. (Acanthaceae). J. Biogeogr. 25: 95 – 110.
  • Benoist, R. (1967). Acanthacées. Tome I. In: H. Humbert (ed.), Flore de Madagascar et des Comores. Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Laboratoire de Phanérogamie, Paris.
  • Clarke, C. B. (1899). Barleria. In: I. H. Burkill & C. B. Clarke (1899 – 1900), Acanthaceae. In: W. T. Thiselton-Dyer (ed.), Flora of Tropical Africa 5: 140 – 169. L. Reeve & Co., London.
  • Darbyshire, I. (2009). A reassessment of the status of Barleria sect. Cavirostrata (Acanthaceae) in tropical Africa, with a new species, B. richardsiae, described from the Tanzania-Zambia border region. Kew Bull. 63: 601 – 611.
  • Darbyshire, I. (2010b). Barleria. In: H. J. Beentje (ed.), Flora of Tropical East Africa. Acanthaceae, pp. 325 – 442. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Darbyshire, I. (2015). Barleria. In: J. R. Timberlake & E. S. Martins (eds), Flora Zambesiaca. Vol. 8 (6): 37 – 122. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Darbyshire, I., Fisher, A. E., Kiel, C. A. & McDade, L. A. (in press). Phylogenetic relationships among species of Barleria (Acanthaceae, Lamiales): molecular data reveal complex patterns of morphological evolution and support a revised classification. Taxon.
  • Darbyshire, I., Phillipson, P. B. & Rakotonasolo, F. (2014). Additions to the genus Barleria in Madagascar. Kew Bull. 69: 9513 (11 pages).
  • Ensermu Kelbessa (2006). Acanthaceae. In: I. Hedberg, Ensermu Kelbessa, S. Edwards, Sebsebe Demissew & E. Persson (eds), Flora of Ethiopia & Eritrea Vol. 5: 345 – 495. The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University & The Department of Systematic Botany, Uppsala University.
  • Fenzl, E. (1844). Aufzählung mehrerer neuen aethiopischen pflanzen-gattungen und arten, nebst Anzeige einer erscheinenden synopsis florae aethiopicae. Flora 27: 309 – 312.
  • Hedrén, M. (2006b). Barleria. In: M. Thulin (ed.), Flora of Somalia. Vol. 3: 427 – 442. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Heine, H. (1963). Acanthaceae. In: F. N. Hepper (ed.), Flora of West Tropical Africa. Second Edition, Vol. 2: 391 – 432. Crown Agents for Overseas Governments and Administrations, London.
  • Heine, H. (1966). Acanthacées. In: A. Aubreville (ed.), Flore du Gabon Vol. 13: 3 – 250. Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris.
  • Humbert, H. (1937). Isaloa, genre nouveau de Scrophulariacées de Madagascar. Bull. Soc. Bot. France 84: 313 – 317.
  • Linnaeus, C. (1753). Species Plantarum. Vol. 2. Salvius, Stockholm.
  • Meyer, P. G. (1968). 130. Acanthaceae. In H. Merxmüller (ed.), Prodromus einer Flora von Südwestafrika. J. Cramer, Germany.
  • Nees von Esenbeck, C. G. D. (1847). Acanthaceae. In: A. de Candolle (ed.), Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetabilis. Vol. 11: 46 – 51. Masson, Paris.
  • Obermeyer, A. A. (1933). A revision of the South African species of Barleria. Ann. Transvaal Mus. 15: 123 – 180.
  • Oersted, A. S. (1854). Mexicos og Centralamerikas Acanthaceer. Vidensk. Meddel. Naturhist. Foren. Kjøbenhavn: 113 – 181.
  • Shendage, S. M. & Yadav, S. R. (2010). Revision of the genus Barleria (Acanthaceae) in India. Rheedea 20: 81 – 130.
  • Singh, Y., Baijnath, H. & Condy, G. (2015). Barleria elegans. Fl. Pl. Africa 64: pl. 2316, 136 – 142.

Flora of West Tropical Africa

  • —F.T.A. 5: 140.

Flora Zambesiaca

  • Sp. Pl.: 636 (1753).
  • in J. Biogeogr. 25: 95–110 (1998).
  • —M.-J. & K. Balkwill in Kew Bull. 52: 535–573 (1997).
  • —Nees in De Candolle, Prodr. 11: 223 (1847).
  • —Obermeijer in Ann. Transv. Mus. 15: 127–180 (1933).

Flora of Somalia

  • Flora Somalia, (2000) Author: by M. Hedrén [updated by M. Thulin 2008]

  • Flora of Somalia

    Flora of Somalia

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  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Kew Bulletin

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  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.