Family AcanthaceaeDistribution and habitat
Barleria elegans is found in the summer rainfall areas of South Africa where it grows in well-drained soils on rocky outcrops and hillsides in full sun to semi-shade and is able to withstand a moderate amount of frost.
Barleria elegans is a medium-sized, fairly fast-growing evergreen shrub up to 1 m high. The leaves are egg-shaped (ovate), dark green and much paler underneath. The narrowly funnel-shaped flowers are carried in few-flowered clusters in the axils (angle between the stem axis and leaf stem) and the bracteoles (reduced leaves) are spiny-toothed.
Barleria elegans is pollinated by insects and attracts various species of butterflies. The insects attract insectivorous birds; therefore this plant is a good choice for attracting life into the garden.
The fruit is a small capsule which explodes to release the seeds. The plant also carries spines to protect itself from being over-utilized by animals.