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This species is accepted, and its native range is W. Central Namibia.
A specimen from Kew's Herbarium


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
Spiny perennial herb or shrub, 20 – 100 (– 150) cm tall, much branched; stems 4-angular at least when young, woody portions subterete, young stems sparsely strigulose and with fine puberulous hairs on two opposite sides or subglabrous, mature stems glabrescent and with conspicuous white flaking epidermis
Morphology General Spines
Axillary spines pale brown or turning whitish, 4 (– 6)-rayed, stalk 0.5 – 1.5 mm long, longest rays 3.5 – 24 mm long, straight
Morphology Leaves
Leaves sessile or petiole to 13 mm long; blade chartaceous to subcoriaceous, elliptic, oblong-elliptic or lanceolate, 2.2 – 9 × 0.7 – 3 cm (l:w ratio 2 – 4.5:1), base cuneate or attenuate, margin entire, apex acute and mucronate; margin and main veins beneath sparsely strigulose or largely glabrous, often with few broad sessile glands towards base beneath; lateral veins 3 – 5 pairs
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens inserted in distal half of or midway along corolla tube; filaments 19 – 35 mm long; anthers exserted, 2.5 – 3.8 mm long; lateral staminodes with filaments 1 – 1.8 mm long, pubescent, antherodes 0.5 – 0.9 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx brown or grey-green, turning paler in fruit or before; anterior lobe ovate or lanceolate, 5 – 13.5 × 2 – 4 mm, posterior lobe marginally longer, up to 14 mm, both with base rounded or obtuse, margin entire, apex attenuate into a flexuose spine, this sometimes bifid on anterior lobe, external surfaces glabrous or strigulose, with or without scattered broad sessile glands, venation inconspicuous; lateral lobes lanceolate or linear-lanceolate, 5 – 11 mm long, with minute short-stalked glands along margin
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla yellow, orange or rarely white, 26 – 50 mm long, tube shortly retrorse-pubescent, limb glabrous or puberulous externally; tube cylindrical, 8 – 15 mm long; limb in marked “4+1” configuration; abaxial lobe offset from the remaining lobes by 7 – 13.5 mm, narrowly oblong-elliptic or oblong-lanceolate, 8.5 – 16 × 3.2 – 6.2 mm, apex rounded to subacute; lateral lobes elliptic or somewhat obovate, 11 – 24.5 × (5.5 –) 7 – 12 mm, apices acute, obtuse or shortly attenuate; adaxial lobes as laterals but (4.5 –) 5.5 – 9.5 mm wide, apices sometimes more rounded
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Pistil
Pistil glabrous; stigma linear, 0.7 – 1.4 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsule 12 – 19 mm long, glabrous; seeds 6 – 9 × 4.5 – 7 mm.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences terminal, contracted to lax spiciform or subcapitate thyrses, 1 – 18 cm long, each cymule single-flowered or rarely a second pair of bracteoles present at lowermost fertile nodes, flowers sessile; bracts foliaceous but rapidly reducing distally, ± spreading, those midway along axis elliptic, oblong-elliptic or oblanceolate, 10 – 36 × 3 – 11 mm, base cuneate, attenuate or abruptly narrowed, apex acute, obtuse or attenuate with a stiff mucro, external surface pale-strigulose on margin and main veins and with or without few to numerous broad sessile glands towards base; bracteoles whitish or pale brown, linear-lanceolate, 3 – 16 × 0.3 – 2.5 mm, margin entire, narrowed into a flexuose or stiff spine; pedicels 0 – 3.5 mm long
Notes for species. The material previously united under Barleria prionitoides, or latterly B. prionitis subsp. prionitoides (Wood et al. 1983), is readily separable into three allopatric taxa. The rank at which to recognise these is open to debate but based on the evidence currently available we have treated them as subspecies of B. prionitoides. The two extremes, subsp. namutonensis and subsp. strigulosa, are so different that we would have no hesitation in treating them as separate species were it not for the fact that subsp. prionitoides is intermediate morphologically, although interestingly it is not the geographic intermediary but rather is the southernmost of the three taxa.
Namibia, Karribib [Karibib], fl. & fr. May 1886, Marloth 1430 (lectotype B sheet 1! [labelled with “Kew Negative 13383”], selected here; isolectotypes B sheet 2!, BOL!, GRA* [GRA0002730-0], K! [K000394537], SAM* [SAM0042845-0]).

Native to:

Angola, Namibia

Barleria prionitoides Engl. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Jan 1, 1982 Marloth [1430], South Africa Barleria prionitis subsp. prionitoides K000394537 Unknown type material

First published in Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 10: 262 (1888)

Not accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. (1996). World Checklist of Seed Plants 2(1, 2): 1-492. MIM, Deurne. [Cited as Barleria prionitis subsp. prionitoides.]


Kew Bulletin

  • 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. (2010b). Barleria. In: H. J. Beentje (ed.), Flora of Tropical East Africa. Acanthaceae, pp. 325 – 442. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Makholela, T. (2008). Acanthaceae. In: E. Figueiredo & G. F. Smith (eds), Plants of Angola / Plantas de Angola. Strelitzia 22. South African National Biodiversity Institute, 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.
  • Obermeyer, A. A. (1933). A revision of the South African species of Barleria. Ann. Transvaal Mus. 15: 123 – 180.
  • 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.
  • Wood, J. R. I., Hillcoat, D. & Brummitt, R. K. (1983). Notes on the types of some names of Arabian Acanthaceae in the Forsskal herbarium. Kew Bull. 38: 429 – 456.

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
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

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.