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This species is accepted, and its native range is SW. Angola to NW. & Central Namibia.


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.

This species is not uncommon within its rather restricted range and is represented by numerous collections. It has an EOO of 108,707 km2, well outside of the threshold for a threat category under criterion B1. Therefore, whilst some populations are likely to have been impacted by agricultural activities, it is considered to be of Least Concern — LC.
Endemic to Namibia (Erongo, Kunene, Omusati, Oshana and Otjozondjupa Regions), but possibly occurring in Angola (Cunene Prov.)
Barleria damarensis is found in a variety of dry bushland and scrub habitats, including on sandy flats, on calcrete, on rocky limestone or dolomitic hillslopes and in dry rocky riverbeds; it is also often found along road verges; c. 930 – 1500 m elevation. It occurs primarily in the Western Highlands vegetation type of Mendelsohn et al. (2002) but extends into their Western-central Escarpment and Inselbergs, Western Kalahari and Karstveld vegetation types. Its range falls partially within the Kaokoveld Centre of plant endemism (sensu van Wyk & Smith 2001).
Morphology General Habit
Spiny shrub or subshrub, 20 – 110 cm tall, stems erect and slender; stems densely white-puberulous throughout, velutinous to the touch, and with few to very numerous short patent glandular hairs on upper internodes, nodal line strigose; mature stems woody with pale grey longitudinally fissured bark
Morphology Leaves
Leaves rather stiff, elliptic to narrowly oblong-elliptic or obovate to oblanceolate, 1.7 – 4.4 × 0.7 – 1.7 cm (l:w ratio 1.6 – 3.5:1), base cuneate or attenuate, margin entire, apex acute to rounded, mucronate, surfaces at first puberulous with mixed eglandular and glandular hairs but soon glabrescent except for sparse strigose hairs along margin and midrib beneath; lateral veins 3 – 5 (– 6) pairs; petiole to 5 (– 11) mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens inserted 6.5 – 7.5 mm from base of corolla tube, often markedly unequal in length; filaments of longer stamen 17 – 27 mm long; anthers 1.8 – 2.6 mm long; lateral staminodes short, 0.7 – 1.2 (– 1.9) mm long, pubescent, antherodes well developed, 0.8 – 1.1 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx green to pale green-brown or mauve, with ± darker palmate-reticulate venation, only tardily turning pale-scarious; anterior lobe lanceolate, 8.5 – 16 × 2.5 – 4.7 mm, margin entire or often with 2 – 8 teeth per side, these sometimes elongate for up to 1.5 mm long, bristle-tipped, apex spinose, external surface densely (rarely more sparsely) white-puberulous and with interspersed short glandular hairs often numerous, veins pale-strigose; posterior lobe as anterior but 9 – 18.5 mm long; lateral lobes lanceolate, 6 – 11 mm long, always with numerous glandular hairs
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla 26 – 37 mm long, pale blue, pale mauve or purple, base of lobes and mouth with dark reddish to purple-black speckling, throat with a yellow patch, tube and lateral lobes pubescent externally with mixed glandular and eglandular hairs; tube cylindrical, 14.5 – 19 mm long; limb in weak “4+1” configuration; abaxial lobe offset by 1.5 – 3 mm, broadly obovate to rounded, 10.5 – 14.5 × 7 – 12 mm, apex rounded or shallowly emarginated; lateral lobes obovate-elliptic, 10.5 – 13.5 × 5 – 9 mm, apex rounded to subacute or rarely shallowly emarginate; adaxial lobes elliptic, 10.5 – 13 × 5 – 8.5 mm, apex often more clearly angled
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Ovary
Ovary with dense minute crisped white hairs at attachment point of style; stigma clavate to linear, 0.5 – 1 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsule 4-seeded, 12.5 – 15 mm long, glabrous; seeds 4 – 5.3 × 4 – 4.5 mm.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences axillary, in contracted unilateral cymes 0.5 – 2.5 cm long, (1 –) 2 – 6-flowered, sessile; bracts foliaceous; bracteoles green, lanceolate, ± markedly recurved and often asymmetric, pairs unequal, the longer of each pair 5 – 11.5 (– 13.5) × 1.8 – 3.3 mm, margin entire or often with 1 – 4 teeth at least along one side, apex attenuate, spinose, midrib prominent abaxially, surface densely white-puberulous and with or without short glandular hairs and/or broad sessile glands
The combination of dense white-puberulous stem indumentum, markedly recurved green bracteoles and dark-speckled nectar guides on the corolla lobes and throat easily separates this distinctive species. The number and length of the teeth on the bracteoles and calyces are variable and the extremes (entire vs conspicuously toothed) appear rather different but the variation is clinal. Giess & Leippert 7588, which has the most conspicuously toothed bracteoles and calyces seen for this species, has been identified as Barleria jubata (and is beleived to have been cited as such by Meyer 1968 but with the number erroneously cited as 5588) but the resemblance to that species is quite superficial. Schwerdtfeger 2/199 from Grootberg is unusual in that the puberulous indumentum is less dense throughout and particularly on the calyces, giving this plant quite a different appearance, but it is otherwise a good match for B. damarensis. This species is very likely to extend into southern Angola. It was recorded just south of the border along the Cunene River near Ruacana in 2015 (Aiyambo et al. 328; I. Darbyshire, pers. obs.). Benoist (1950) recorded Barleria marlothii from Chapéu Armado a S. Nicolau in Namibe Province based on Castro 117 but this is almost certainly a specimen of B. deserticola. So, for the present time, B. damarensis remains a Namibian endemic.
Namibia, “Damara Land”, herb. Coll. Trin. Dublin s.n. (holotype TCD* [TCD0017903]) — see note.

Native to:

Angola, Namibia

Barleria damarensis T.Anderson appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Nov 1, 2008 Crawford, F. [130], Namibia K000450266

First published in J. Proc. Linn. Soc., Bot. 7: 29 (1863)

Accepted by

  • 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): 1-85. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Figueiredo, E. & Smith, G.F. (2008). Plants of Angola Strelitzia 22: 1-279. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
  • Govaerts, R. (1996). World Checklist of Seed Plants 2(1, 2): 1-492. MIM, Deurne.


Kew Bulletin

  • Anderson, T. (1863). An enumeration of the species of Acanthaceae from the continent of Africa and the adjacent islands. J. Proc. Linn. Soc., Bot. 7: 13 – 54.
  • Benoist, R. (1950). Quelques Acanthacées des colonies Portugaises Africanes. Bol. Soc. Brot. Sér. 2, 24: 5 – 39.
  • 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.
  • Craven, P. (ed.) (1999). A checklist of Namibian plant species. South African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 7, SABONET, Windhoek.
  • Darbyshire, I., Tripp, E. A. & Dexter, K. G. (2012). A new species and a revised record in Namibian Barleria (Acanthaceae). Kew Bull. 67: 759 – 766.
  • Dinter, K. (1918). Index der aus Deutsch-Südwestafrika bis zum jahre 1917 bekannt gewordenen pflanzenarten. II. Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 15: 340 – 355.
  • Engler, A. (1888). Plantae Marlothianae. Ein Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Flora Südafrikas. Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 10: 242 – 285.
  • Gunn, M. & Codd, L. E. (1981). Botanical exploration of southern Africa: an illustrated history of early botanical literature on the Cape flora: biographical accounts of the leading plant collectors and their activities in southern Africa from the days of the East India Company until modern times. A. A. Balkema, Cape Town.
  • Klaassen, E. & Kwembeya, E. (eds) (2013). A checklist of Namibian indigenous and naturalised plants. Occasional Contributions No. 5, National Botanical Research Institute, Windhoek.
  • Klopper, R. R., Chatelain, C., Bänninger, V., Habashi, C., Steyn, H. M., de Wet, B. C., Arnold, T. H., Gautier, L., Smith, G. E. & Spichiger, R. (2006). Checklist of the flowering plants of sub-Saharan Africa. An index of accepted names and synonyms. South African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 42, SABONET, Pretoria.
  • Mendelsohn, J., Jarvis, A., Roberts, C. & Robertson, T. (2002). Atlas of Namibia. A portrait of the land and its people. Ministry of Environment & Tourism and David Philip, Cape Town.
  • Meyer, P. G. (1957). Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Acanthaceen Südwestafrikas. Mitt. Bot. Staatssamml. München 2: 368 – 385.
  • Meyer, P. G. (1968). 130. Acanthaceae. In H. Merxmüller (ed.), Prodromus einer Flora von Südwestafrika. J. Cramer, Germany.
  • Moore, S. le (1902b). Alabastra Diversa. Part X. Two imperfectly known species of Barleria. J. Bot. 40: 407 – 408.
  • Nyirenda, F. C. & Balkwill, K. (2018). Significance of variation and evaluation of potential characters in three morphologically similar species of Barleria sect. Barleria (Acanthaceae) in southern Africa. Pl. Syst. Evol. 304: 77 – 92.
  • Obermeyer, A. A. (1933). A revision of the South African species of Barleria. Ann. Transvaal Mus. 15: 123 – 180.
  • Van Wyk, A. E. & Smith, G. F. (2001). Regions of Floristic Endemism in Southern Africa. A review with emphasis on succulents. Umdaus Press, Hatfield.
  • Welman, W. G. (2003). Acanthaceae. In: G. Germishuizen & N. L. Meyer (eds), Plants of southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 14: 92 – 106. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • 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): 1-85. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

Kew Bulletin
Kew Bulletin

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.