This Barleria senensis plant was photographed near Burgersfort. The plant branches, reaching heights around 70 cm. Its old stems become woody and spines may occur in leaf axils. The opposite leaves grow on long stalks. They are lance-shaped, dull green on both surfaces and armed with an apical spine. The species is useful in stabilising eroding soil.
Not all barlerias have spines. Some of these plants are shrubs, others are herbs. The genus of about 250 species is widely represented in Asia, the Americas and Africa. They are usually characterised by ellipsoid or flask-shaped fruit that burst open explosively when ripe to release their seeds (Manning, 2009; www.plantzafrica.com).