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This species is accepted, and its native range is NE. Somalia.
A specimen from Kew's Herbarium


Malombe, I. & Darbyshire, I. 2010. Barleria compacta: a new species in Barleria sect. Prionitis (Acanthaceae) from Somalia. Kew Bulletin 65: 443. DOI:

This species is restricted to a small area of arid north-east Somalia and is currently known from 15 localities. The most likely threat to its dry, rocky habitat is over-grazing by domestic herds. However, this species appears quite tolerant of degraded habitats and may well be protected by its spine systems and compact, woody growth which restrict its palatability. Furthermore, its range has been under-botanised and it may prove to be locally common as its favoured habitat and geology is widespread in NE Somalia. It is therefore assessed as Least Concern (LC) using IUCN (2001) criteria, but more data on distribution and abundance are nevertheless desirable.
NE Somalia (Flora of Somalia region: N 3)
Barleria compacta is found in open to rather dense Acacia-Commiphora dry scrubby bushland or in Sporobolus-grassland with scattered Acacia, usually on rocky limestone slopes or edges of seasonal alluvial plains; 110 – 760 m. It appears tolerant of some disturbance including heavy grazing around seasonal water pools on the alluvial plains.
Morphology General Habit
Compact, much-branched subshrub, 10 – 30 cm high
Morphology General Spines
Rayed axillary spines sparse to numerous, white, stalk (0.8 –) 1.5 – 5 mm long, rays (3 –) 4, straight, longest ray 4.5 – 13 mm long; paired white spinose bracteoles of old or aborted inflorescences persisting, numerous
Morphology Leaves
Leaves subsessile; blade linear, linear-lanceolate or narrowly oblong, 1.7 – 4.8 cm long, 0.25 – 0.5 (– 1.2) cm wide, base cuneate, apex acute-cuspidate, lower surface strigose at least on margin and midrib, sometimes also scattered above, hairs simple and/or medifixed, the two branches then unequal in length, or surfaces largely glabrous; midrib pale and prominent beneath, lateral veins rather inconspicuous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens attached 3.5 – 7.5 mm from base of corolla tube; filaments 9 – 14 mm long, shortly pubescent in the lower half; anthers 1.7 – 2.5 mm long; lateral staminodes (0.5 –) 1 – 2 mm long, shortly pubescent, antherodes 0.6 – 1 mm long or rarely undeveloped
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx colour as bracteoles; anticous lobe narrowly lanceolate, 7 – 14 mm long, 2.5 – 3 mm wide towards base, apex long-acuminate, spinose or rarely bifidly so, outer surface glabrous or with occasional strigose hairs on acumen and/or few subsessile glandular hairs, inner surface and sometimes margin with minute appressed hairs, venation obscured except for somewhat prominent midrib on acumen; posticous lobe as anticous lobe but marginally longer; lateral lobes linear-lanceolate, 6 – 9 mm long, 1 – 1.2 mm wide at base, usually sparsely strigose and with minute subsessile glands and/or with minute glandular hairs at base or margin
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla 16.5 – 26.5 mm long, cream-yellow to bright yellow (-orange), glabrous or with few hairs on upper tube outside; tube cylindrical, 7.5 – 13.5 mm long, 2 – 3.5 mm wide at base; limb subregular, lobes spreading, subequal in size, 6.5 – 13 mm long, 3 – 8.5 mm wide, adaxial pair of lobes sometimes marginally narrower
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Disc
Disk cupular, margin sinuate, glabrous or sometimes with few hairs at base
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Ovary
Ovary 2.3 – 2.8 mm long, glabrous; style filiform, 14 – 17.5 mm long, glabrous; stigma linear, 0.5 – 0.8 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsule pale brown, 7 – 13 mm long including 3 – 5 mm long sterile beak, 3.5 – 4.5 mm wide in fertile portion, glabrous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences axillary, mainly in the uppermost portions of the branches, flowers solitary; subsessile or peduncle 1.5 – 8 mm long; bracts foliaceous; bracteoles pale grey-green or whitish with age, linear-spinose, 7 – 20.5 mm long, 0.9 – 1.5 mm wide at base, glabrous or midrib strigose; flowers pedicellate for up to 1.5 – 3 mm
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds ± 4.8 – 6 mm long, 4 – 4.3 mm wide, clothed in appressed, buff-coloured hygroscopic hairs
Morphology Stem
Stems minutely puberulent on two opposite sides of upper internodes, glabrescent, uppermost nodes often shortly strigose; mature woody stems pale grey
Gillett & Watson 23369 and Merla et al. s.n. have broader leaves (5 – 12 mm wide) and smaller spines than the other material seen but such variation is not unsual in sect. Prionitis.

Native to:


Barleria compacta Malombe & I.Darbysh. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Popov, G. [1161], Somalia K000772642 isotype

First published in Kew Bull. 65: 446 (2010 publ. 2011)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R., Nic Lughadha, E., Black, N., Turner, R. & Paton, A. (2021). The World Checklist of Vascular Plants, a continuously updated resource for exploring global plant diversity. Scientific Data 8: 215.


Kew Bulletin

  • Balkwill, M.-J. & Balkwill, K. (1997). Delimitation and infra-generic classification of Barleria (Acanthaceae). Kew. Bull. 52: 535 – 573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  • EnsermuKelbessa (2006). Acanthaceae. In: I. Hedberg, EnsermuKelbessa, S. Edwards, SebsebeDemissew & E. Persson (eds), Flora of Ethiopia & Eritrea 5: Gentianaceae to Cyclocheilaceae, pp. 345 – 495. National Herbarium, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia & Swedish Science Press, Uppsala, Sweden.
  • Hedrén, M. (2006a). Barleria. In: M. Thulin (ed.), Flora of Somalia Vol. 3, pp. 427 – 442. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • IUCN (2001). IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. Version 3.1. IUCN Species Survival Commission, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K.
  • ____ & ____ (1998). A preliminary analysis of distribution patterns in a large, pantropical genus, Barleria L. (Acanthaceae). J. Biogeogr. 25: 95 – 110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  • ____ (2006b). New species and combinations in Acanthaceae from Somalia. Willdenowia 36: 751 – 759.

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© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.