For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Small Bush Violet (Barleria repens)

Family Acanthaceae
Please note that in some areas this flower is a mauve colour.
The small bush violet produces masses of pretty tubular flowers and will happily scramble up into surrounding vegetation if conditions are good.

It usually forms a rounded to spreading bushy shrub, 0.7 m high by 1 m wide, but sometimes also climbs/leans into nearby trees and shrubs (up to 2 m!). New branches tend to root as they touch ground, so this plant can quickly increase its territory if not kept under surveillance! Evergreen, it has soft, shiny, dark green leaves. Flowers are fairly large, and are a deep purple-mauve or pink-red, appearing from late summer to autumn (February to April). The fruit is an explosive, club-shaped capsule, forming in autumn (March to May).
Natural distribution

Woodland and forest, from KwaZulu-Natal northwards to tropical Africa.

Name derivation

Named in honour of the Rev. James Barrelier MD of Paris. The Latin word repens means 'creeping and rooting'. There are 60 species of Barleria in South Africa. Most are bushy shrubs, some with a tendency to scramble, such as B. obtuse, which is often cultivated. B greenii and several others show merit as garden plants too.


The flowers attract insects which, in turn, become food for insect-eating birds such as bulbuls, orioles, bush shrikes, thrushes and boubou shrikes.