Native to tropical Asia, Africa and India, barleria is a robust, prickly shrub. It is a popular garden ornamental, grown in Darwin and parts of Queensland as a hedge plant because of its small thorns.

Barleria seedlings grow slowly at first but, once established, can grow 50cm each year.

Barleria is not a prohibited or restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Barleria prionitis


  • Robust, prickly shrub about 1m tall.
  • Branches are smooth, brown, roughly square in cross-section.
  • Leaves are oval, 10-12cm long, with pointed tip ending in short spine.
  • Spikes are sharp, pale-coloured, 1-2cm long.
  • Flowers are yellow, tubular, about 4cm long, with long, projecting stamens in upright spikes at top of plant.
  • Seed capsules are oval-shaped, about 18mm long, tapering into 6mm long beak.
  • Seeds are large, 8mm long, 5mm wide, flat, covered in matted hairs.


  • Found in bushland, waterways, disturbed areas, and overgrazed paddocks.


  • Found near Townsville and on Boigu Island in Torres Strait in North Queensland.

Life cycle

  • Reproduces by seed.
  • Flowers mainly during autumn.
  • Fruit normally present during winter.

Affected animals

  • livestock
  • humans



  • Forms dense thickets that displace native vegetation and prevent revegetation of native plants.


  • Thickets reduce pasture productivity, impede movement of livestock, and restrict access to waterways.


  • Spines can injure humans and livestock.

How it is spread

  • Spread by garden escapees.
  • Seeds may spread short distances when capsules open explosively to release seeds.
  • Seeds can also be dispersed by water and in dumped garden waste.


Herbicide control

  • Spot spraying with various herbicides can be effective.

See the Barleria fact sheet (PDF, 485KB) for more information, including chemicals and application rates.

Legal requirements

  • Barleria is not a prohibited or restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014. However, by law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control.
  • Local governments must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants and animals in their area. This plan may include actions to be taken on certain species. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local government for more information.

Further information