Barleria is known as Kurantaka in Sanskrit, Spatika in Kannada, Vajradanti in Marathi, Philippine violet, Bluebell barleria, Crested Philippine violet, and Porcupine flower. Belongs to Acanthaceae family and native to India and Sri Lanka.
The plant is a prickly shrub and grows to a height of 1.5 meters. The leaves are green ovate, tapering, with visible veins. Every leaf has 3 to 5 sharp spines about 10-20 mm long. Popular species of Barleria are Barleria prionitis and Barleria cristata.
The flowers bloom in golden yellow, white,mauve, purple, double color, and baby pink. Flowers are about 5 cm long and funnel-shaped. The fruits are approximately 1.5 cm long capsules.
Butterflies are attracted to the flowers.
In India the flowers are made into garlands and are offered to gods. Women pin up the garland on their hair.
During 21 pushpa pooja Golden Yellow Baleria flower is offered to Lord Ganesha, while chanting the below mantra: “Om Gowri Thanujaaya Namaha, Kurantaka Pushapam Samarpayami”.
Baleria is used for various medicinal purposes in Ayurveda medicine.
Barleria is easily propagated from cuttings planted in fall directly in the ground. It requires some sun to flower profusely and occasional pruning to promote bushy growth.