Barleria obtusa, the bush violet, occurs naturally along forest margins in the summer rainfall region of South Africa where it is widely cultivated as a decorative garden shrub and used medicinally. It is an evergreen multi-stemmed shrublet with a sprawling habit. The branches have an erect or decumbent habit. The size of the plant varies when planted in different growing environments.
The soft, sage green leaves are oppositely placed and have entire margins with fine translucent hairs. A characteristic feature is that the leaves are reflexed (the margins are upturned).
Clusters of 1 inch wide blue flowers appear at the branch tips in the fall and winter. The flower petals are borne on the top part of the branch. A closer look at the individual flower will reveal the style and only two stamens with violet colored pollen.
Plant in full sun or partial shade, water infrequently - once established is quite a drought tolerant in coastal gardens. Hardy to 20-25° F. In deep shade plants often grow taller and clamber up if supported by other plants or structures. Can reseed a bit in the garden but not to the extent of being pesky.
This great soft rounded low shrub for the garden that is attractive to bees, butterflies, and nectar feeding birds.