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This species is accepted, and its native range is Ethiopia.


Ensermu & Darbyshire. 2018. Six new species of Barleria L. (Acanthaceae) from Northeast Tropical Africa. Kew Bulletin 73:1. DOI 10.1007/S12225-017-9725-2

This species is currently known from three localities and has an EOO of c. 1450 km2, which falls within the Endangered range threshold for IUCN Criterion B1. None of its known localities arewithin Protected Areas, although the Nechisar National Park falls partly within its EOO. Google Earth imagery indicates that there has been extensive conversion to agricultural land in the Gidole area,whilst the SE slopes of the Gughe highlands are being impacted by the rapid expansion of Arba Minch town and associated villages. Whilst this species may be able to tolerate some disturbance, as it appears to grow in secondary assemblages such as Dodonaea scrub, it will be adversely impacted by habitat clearance for settlement and agriculture. With known threats to two of its three locations (the Sidamo location is too vague to consider likely threats), this species is considered to be Endangered EN B1ab(iii).
Barleria gidoleensis is restricted to Gamo Gofa and Sidamo Floristic Regions in southern Ethiopia. Map 1, green triangles.
Barleria gidoleensis occurs in bushland and scrub of Dodonaea viscosa (L.) Jacq. var. angustifolia (L. f.) Benth. and in Acacia-Combretum open woodland transitioning to Juniperus procera Hochst. ex Endl. forest. At one site it was recorded from an assemblage of Dodonaea with Pterocephalus frutescens Hochst. ex A. Rich., Ipomoea kituiensis Vatke, Echinops macrochaetus Fresen., Acanthus sennii Chiov. and Piliostigma thonningii (Schumach.) Milne-Redh. It grows at 1400 - 2000 m elevation.
Morphology General Habit
Spiny shrub 1 - 1.8 m high and to 1.8 m wide; stems soon turning woody, much-branched, pilose with long- stalked glandular hairs, and with up to 2 mm long bristly hairs; internodes very short, up to 10 - 20 mm long
Morphology General Spines
Axillary spines with stalk nearly lacking or to 6 mm long, 2-branched; branches widely divergent, ± straight 14 - 24 mm long, grey, glandular-pubescent except the spinose apex which is glabrous
Morphology Leaves
Leaves subsessile, blade ovate to sub-orbicular, up to 15 - 18x11 - 17 mm, base cordate or rounded, margins entire, apex mucronate, pilose beneath with long-stalked glandular hairs and bristly hairs, nearly glabrous above; lateral veins 3 - 4 pairs, raised beneath, nearly indistinct above
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers axillary, solitary, stalked, bracteoles terminating 2 - 4 mm long common stalk (peduncle), the 2 bracteoles each 18 - 25 x 1 mm, spiny, pubescent with glandular hairs and bristly hairs; pedicel 2 - 4 mm long, pubescent with glandular and bristly hairs
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens inserted ± 16 mm above base of corolla tube, exserted from corolla tube for ± 13 mm of their length; filaments 23 - 31 mm long, pilose at base; anthers ± 6 mm long; staminodes 3, filaments 5 - 6 mm long, antherodes absent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx with anterior and posterior lobes sub-equal, narrowly oblong, 13 - 15 x 3 - 4 mm, apex mucronate, external surfaces pubescent with glandu­lar hairs and ascending bristly hairs; lateral lobes linear-subulate, 10.5 - 14.5 x 2 mm, apex mucronate, indumentum as outer lobes
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla light blue-violet or pale blue (black in dry state), (42 -)49- 54 mm long; tube 34 - 36 mm long, ± 5 mm broad at base, ± 10 mm at mouth, pubescent externally and at base of filaments internally; limb 5-lobed in weak “2+3” configuration, lobes sub-equal, 18 - 20 x 8 - 10 mm, oblong-elliptic, ± rounded at apex, pubescent exter­nally, adaxial pair of lobes separated from tube 2 mm below the other 3 lobes and slightly smaller, ± 3 mm broad at base, the other 3 lobes ± 4 mm broad at base
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Ovary
Ovary ± 4 mm long, black, surrounded by disc in proximal half, glabrous; style ± 50 mm long, glabrous; stigma sub-capitate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsule 22 - 26 x 7 mm, black to dark brown, shining, glabrous, 4-seeded; seeds ± 7 x 6 mm, triangular-ovate in face view, with golden-yellow hygroscopic hairs
Barleria gidoleensis is morphologically closest to B. longissima Lindau and is very similar vegetatively, but it differs in having a much smaller corolla (42 -)49- 54 mm long (vs 110 - 126 mm long) with the tube narrow in its lower portion and gradually enlarged towards the mouth and its lobes separated at different levels (vs corolla with very long and uniform­ly cylindrical tube and the lobes separated at the same level in B. longissima); a much shorter style, ± 50 mm long (vs 120 - 130 mm long in B. longissima); and smaller calyx with the outer lobes 13 - 15 mm long (vs 19 - 22 mm long). Barleria gidoleensis is named after the small town (and administrative unit) of Gidole, which is near to the type locality for this species. The four-seeded capsule, fusiform in face view and lacking a prominent beak, places this species in sect. Barleria (Balkwill & Balkwill 1997; Darbyshire 2009). Based on their morphological similarity, it is clearly closely allied to B. longissima Lindau, a rare Ethiopian endemic species that also occurs in Gamo Gofa and Sidamo Floristic Regions. However, they are easily separated by the characters listed in the Recognition section, in particular the much shorter and less strictly cylindrical corolla tube of B. gidoleensis. Similar species pairs are found elsewhere in Barleria sect. Barleria,forexample B. gracilispina (Fiori) I. Darbysh. and B. paolioides I. Darbysh. from east and northeast Africa, the former having a long, strictly cylindrical corolla tube and subregular limb and broad outer calyx lobes, the latter having a short and narrowly funnel-shaped corolla tube and a more zygomorphic limb, and narrow outer calyx lobes (Darbyshire 2010). In this latter case, there is an intermediate species from Somalia that may be of hybrid origin, B. paolii Fiori. In the FEE treatment, Barleria gidoleensis was considered to be conspecific with specimens from northern Kenya including Verdcourt & Dale 2216 (K) (Ensermu 2006). However, the Kenyan plants were later named B. ramulosa C. B. Clarke var. dispersa I. Darbysh. and several key differences were noted to B. gidoleensis (Darbyshire 2010). These include shorter axillary spines and bracteoles (7 20 mm long), shorter lateral calyx lobes (5 - 9.5 mm long), smaller corollas (21 - 41 mm long) with a considerably narrower tube and less oblong lobes, shorter staminal filaments (11 - 18 mm long), and smaller capsules (11 - 20 mm long) in B. ramulosa. Barleria gidoleensis is also strikingly similar to B. molensis Wild, a species restricted to the serpentine of the Great Dyke in Zimbabwe (see Darbyshire2015: 59). They share a similar habit, indumentum and corolla morphology, although plants of B. gidoleensis appear to be larger and usually have a shorter corolla tube. They are most easily separated by the differing leaf shape, B. molensis having elliptic or obovate leaves with a cuneate or attenuate base, by the larger calyces in B. molensis (posterior lobe 20 - 26 x 4 - 9 mm), and by the differing flower colour, those of B. molensis being white, although they can fade to pale bluish (pale blue to blue-violet in B. gidoleensis). It would be interesting to carry out molecular analyses to see if these geographically and ecologically disjunct species are closely related. The duplicate at K of the specimen Gilbert et al. 517 differs from other material seen (and even from the duplicate of this specimen at UPS) in bearing smaller axillary spines and less glandular hairs; there is no mature flower on the K sheet, but the UPS sheet has a mature flower that is a good match for Barleria gidoleensis. The K sheet is probably just from an immature plant.

Native to:


Barleria gidoleensis Ensermu & I.Darbysh. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Kew Bull. 73(1)-1: 3 (2018 publ. 2017)

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

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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.