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Barleria aristata

A spectacular blue-flowered undershrub, Barleria aristata was only very recently described, despite its abundance along one of the main transport routes in east Africa!
Close-up of the flowers of Barleria aristata

Close-up of the flowers of Barleria aristata

Species information

Scientific name: 

Barleria aristata I.Darbysh.

Conservation status: 

Least Concern (LC) according to IUCN Red List criteria. Not currently considered threatened.


Dry bushland, typically of Acacia-Commiphora trees, on sandy, gravelly or rocky soils.

Key Uses: 

A potential ornamental.

Known hazards: 



Genus: Barleria

About this species

Barleria aristata is a member of the largely tropical Acanthaceae family and is one of 80 species of Barleria recorded from east Africa alone. Its beautiful blue flowers can be seen in abundance from late March to June along the Tanzania-Zambia highway where the road bisects the spectacular Kitonga (Ruaha) Gorge and the adjacent lowlands along the Lukose River in central Tanzania.

It forms dense thickets in the undergrowth of the dry thornbush and along the roadsides, brightening the journey along this busy route. However, in global terms, this is a rare and highly restricted species that was given a scientific name for the first time as recently as 2008.


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