In this study, the discrete element method (DEM) was used to investigate the influence of particle shape and interparticle friction on the bulk friction in a Jenike direct shear test. Spherical particle and non-spherical particles using two overlapping sphere giving particle aspect ratio of up to 2 and a full range of interparticle contact friction coefficient were studied numerically. These were compared with physical Jenike shear tests conducted on single glass beads and paired glass beads. To separate the influence of sample packing density from interparticle contact friction on the bulk shearing response, the same initial packing was used for each particle shape in the simulations. The interplay between contact friction and particle interlocking arising from geometric interaction between particles to produce the bulk granular friction in a direct shear test is explored and several key observations are reported. The results also show that particle interlocking has a greater effect than packing density on the bulk friction and for each particle shape; DEM can produce a good quantitative match of the limiting bulk friction as long as similar initial packing density is achieved. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.