Berkheya purpurea, called purple Berkheya grows naturally along streams and on steep, grassy mountains slopes 1525 to 3050 m above sea level, from the mountains in the Eastern Cape to the Drakensberg.
Berkheya purpurea is one of the prettiest summer perennials for colour display in the garden.
A fast-growing, long-lived perennial, Berkheya purpurea has a long, single taproot and forms a dense clump of very prickly foliage tight on the ground. The large green leaves arranged in a rosette are up to 250 mm long with wavy, very spiny edges.
The upper surfaces of the leaves are almost shiny, whereas the cobwebby undersides are covered with long, soft, white hairs.
Smaller leaves are produced along the single flowering stem; these leaves diminish in size upwards and their bases continue down the stem forming broad spiny wings running down the stem-an interesting feature of Berkheya purpurea.