Sclerochiton kirkii is not a South African plant. It grows in neighbouring countries including Mozambique and Tanzania. In Zimbabwe it has been put on the endangered plant list. Sclerochiton is a genus of shrubs or subshrubs in the Acanthaceae family.
S. kirkii is a hardy, evergreen shrub that may grow taller than 2 m, The simple leaves are short-stalked and elliptic to narrowly ovate. The blunt tips attenuate, the base tapers, the margins are entire. The glossy green blades have lateral veins ascending from the midribs.
The inflorescence is a terminal spike, i.e. the flowers grow stalkless on a simple, undivided axis or stem at a stem-tip. The calyx is five-lobed, the sky blue corollas one-lipped and five-lobed, up to 4 cm in diameter.
Dr John Kirk who has been honoured in the naming of the plant accompanied Livingstone on his 1858 trip (Leistner, (Ed.), 2000; iNaturalist; www.zimbabweflora.co.zw).