Purple Berkheya Berkheya purpurea

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
purple berkheya


Berkheya purpurea, also known as the purple berkheya, is a striking plant noted for its bold and beautiful floral display. The plant possesses a rosette of spiny, tooth-like leaves that are reminiscent of a thistle, with a coarse texture and often a silvery-green hue, giving it a distinctive appearance which can add interest to a garden setting. The flowers of the purple berkheya are its most spectacular feature, typically showcasing a striking purple color. These blooms are composed of numerous slender petals that radiate outwards, forming a roughly circular shape that resembles a daisy. The flowers are supported on rigid, sometimes branching stems that rise above the foliage, providing an eye-catching contrast against the greenery below. Often found in ornamental gardens for its attractive blossoms, the purple berkheya has a robust character due to its spiny foliage, which can deter animals from browsing. The plant has a somewhat architectural structure, with the leaves and flower stems creating a visual interplay of form and texture. At the center of the flowers, you may find a denser cluster of florets, giving the blossom its typical composite flower appearance, a common trait among plants in its family. This central cone is often darker, with hues that can range from deeper purple to almost black, enriching the overall visual impact of the flower head. With its showy blooms and spiny leaves, the purple berkheya adds both aesthetic appeal and textural interest to the landscape. Whether planted as a solitary specimen or grouped for a more dramatic effect, it provides a focal point that engages the observer with its contrasting forms and colors, underscoring the vibrant diversity to be found within the plant kingdom.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Purple Berkheya, African Thistle

    • Common names

      Berkheya purpurea

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant known as Berkheya purpurea, commonly referred to as the Purple Berkheya, is not widely recognized for having significant toxic effects on humans. Available information does not indicate that it contains potent toxins that would cause serious poisoning if ingested. However, as with any plant, individual allergies or sensitivities may exist, and it is not advisable to consume any part of this plant without authoritative information on its edibility and safety. In general, ingestion of plant parts that are not known to be safe can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort, including nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

    • To pets

      For Berkheya purpurea, also known as Purple Berkheya, there is no well-documented toxicity for pets such as dogs and cats. This plant is not commonly listed among those that are poisonous to domestic animals. Nevertheless, it is still recommended to prevent pets from ingesting plants not known to be safe, as they may cause mild gastrointestinal upset similar to that in humans, with symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea. If a pet is suspected to have ingested this plant and is showing concerning symptoms, it is best to consult with a veterinarian.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2-3 feet (60-90 cm)

    • Spread

      2 feet (60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      South Africa


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: Berkheya purpurea, commonly known as the Purple Berkheya, is valued for its striking purple flowers which add aesthetic appeal to gardens and landscapes.
    • Attracts Wildlife: The vibrant flowers are known to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, supporting biodiversity.
    • Drought Tolerance: Purple Berkheya is adapted to survive in dry conditions, making it suitable for xeriscaping and water-wise gardening practices.
    • Soil Erosion Control: Its root system can help stabilize soil, reducing erosion on slopes and disturbed areas.
    • Low Maintenance: This plant typically requires minimal care once established, making it a convenient choice for gardeners of all skill levels.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Anti-inflammatory: Berkheya purpurea has been traditionally used for its anti-inflammatory properties to reduce swelling and treat inflammatory conditions.
    • Antimicrobial: Some components within the plant have shown antimicrobial activity, suggesting they may be effective in fighting certain bacterial infections.
    • Antioxidant: The plant contains compounds that exhibit antioxidant properties, potentially combating oxidative stress and associated diseases.
    • Analgesic: It has been reported to have analgesic properties, which may help in alleviating pain.
    • Wound healing: There is evidence to suggest that Berkheya purpurea promotes wound healing, likely due to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • The spiny foliage of Berkheya purpurea, commonly known as the purple Berkheya, can be used as a deterrent for garden pests and animals that might otherwise damage more delicate plants.
    • The plant's striking appearance makes it an ideal candidate for ornamental purposes in gardens and landscaping designs that require a structural or architectural element.
    • Purple Berkheya's long-lasting flowers can be used in dried flower arrangements to add texture and a touch of natural beauty indoors.
    • Due to its resilience and low maintenance, Purple Berkheya is suitable for planting in green roofs and sustainable building projects that seek to incorporate native flora.
    • The seeds of Purple Berkheya may be used for educational purposes to teach about the lifecycle and propagation practices of perennial plants in horticulture classes.
    • Artists and nature enthusiasts can use Purple Berkheya as a subject for botanical illustration, capturing the intricate details of its spiky leaves and purple flowers.
    • Being a nectar-producing plant, Berkheya purpurea can play a role in supporting local bee and butterfly populations as part of a wildlife-friendly garden.
    • The contrasting purple flowers against the silvery-green foliage can provide a visually striking backdrop for photography projects focusing on natural colors and textures.
    • Enthusiasts of natural dyeing processes may experiment with the petals to see if they can produce a unique dye color for textiles.
    • Some cultures may use the plant as part of ceremonial or festive decorations due to its eye-catching blooms and sculptural form.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Purple Berkheya is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Purple Berkheya is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: Berkheya purpurea is known for its ability to thrive in tough environments, symbolizing the ability to persevere through challenges.
    • Rarity: As a lesser-known flower, it can represent unique beauty or the value of rare finds.
    • Protection: With its thistle-like appearance, this plant can symbolize protection and defense against harm.
    • Healing: Some species in the Berkheya genus are used in traditional medicine, so the plant can symbolize healing and recovery.

Every 7-10 days
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Purple berkheya should be watered moderately, ensuring the soil is kept moist but not waterlogged. During the active growing season in spring and summer, water the plant once a week with about 1 to 1.5 gallons of water. Reduce watering in the fall and winter to every other week, monitoring the soil moisture level to prevent overwatering. Always check the top inch of soil for dryness before watering, as overwatering can lead to root rot.

  • sunLight

    Purple berkheya thrives best in full sun to partial shade. The ideal location would provide it with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. If you're planting it outdoors, choose a spot that gets ample morning light and some afternoon shade to protect it from the intense midday sun.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Purple berkheya can tolerate a range of temperatures but performs best in conditions between 50°F and 75°F. The plant can survive minimum temperatures down to 20°F, making it suitable for cooler climates, but it should be protected from extreme cold. Avoid placing the plant in areas where temperatures can exceed 85°F for prolonged periods, as excessive heat may stress the plant.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune purple berkheya to remove dead or damaged foliage and to encourage bushier growth. The best time for pruning is in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Cut back the previous year's stems to about a few inches above ground level. Pruning can be done annually, or as needed to maintain the shape and health of the plant.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Purple Berkheya thrives in well-draining soil with a pH range between 5.5 and 7.5. A mix of loam, peat, sand, and perlite can provide optimal drainage and aeration. Enrich the mix with compost to enhance fertility and structure.

  • plantRepotting

    Purple Berkheya should be repotted every two to three years or when it outgrows its current container. Repotting in the spring allows the plant to establish in the growing season.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Purple Berkheya prefers moderate humidity levels but is quite adaptable and can tolerate a range of humidity conditions typical of outdoor environments.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright light and well-draining soil for indoor Purple Berkheya.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in well-draining soil; full sun to partial shade for outdoor Purple Berkheya.

    • Hardiness zone

      8-10 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Berkheya purpurea, also known as the Purple Berkheya, begins its life cycle with seed germination, occurring primarily in the spring when the soil temperatures are suitable. The seeds establish into small rosettes of leaves at ground level, marking the juvenile vegetative stage of the plant. As it enters the adult vegetative stage, the Berkheya purpurea forms a larger rosette and eventually produces a central flowering stalk during the flowering stage. The flowers are typically purple or mauve and bloom in the summer, attracting pollinators for reproduction. After pollination, the plant sets seeds that mature in seed heads; these seeds are later dispersed, often by wind or passing animals. The plant may die after seeding if it is an annual, but if it is a perennial, it may enter dormancy for the winter before resuming growth in the next season.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to Summer

    • Berkheya purpurea, commonly known as the Purple Berkheya, is often propagated by seed. The most popular method for propagating this hardy perennial is to sow the seeds directly into the ground during the spring after the risk of frost has passed. To ensure good seed-to-soil contact, sprinkle the seeds on well-prepared soil and then lightly cover them with a thin layer of earth, no more than 1/8 inch (approximately 3 millimeters) deep. Water gently but thoroughly to moisten the soil without disturbing the seeds. Germination will usually occur within a few weeks, and the seedlings can be thinned out if necessary to prevent overcrowding as they grow.