Amongst the attractive red, bronze tints provided by tree foliage in autum, Barleria obtusa makes an even more spectacular show. This evergreen flowering shrublet is covered in a mass of dainty violet flowers from April to May. This fast growing, spreading shrublet is a must for rockeries and small gardens.B.obtusa occurs naturally from the Soutpansberg in the Northern Province, Mpumalanga, and KwaZulu Natal and further to the Eastern Cape Province. It grows quite commonly on hills and along forest margins in subtropical regions.
Barleria obtusa is multi-stemmed shrublet. The branches have an erect or decumbent habit. The size of the plant varies when planted in different growing environments. From about one metre as a low bushy plant in the open, whilst shady conditions encourage long sprawling branches which reach a height of two metres.
The soft, sage green leaves are oppositely placed and have entire margins with fine translucent hairs. A characteristic feature is that the leaves are reflexed (the margins are upturned). In its natural habit the leaves of the bush violet are browsed by buck.The 2-3cm wide flower petals are borne on the top part of the branch. A closer look at the individual flower will reveal the style and only two stamens with violet coloured pollen. The seed capsule becomes woody when mature, and then the seeds are explosively released and scattered on the ground.