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Lycium carolinianum (Carolina wolfberry)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Lycium carolinianum

Lycium carolinianum Walter

Carolina wolfberry, Carolina desert-thorn, Creeping wolfberry, Christmas berry

Solanaceae (Potato Family)

Synonym(s):

USDA Symbol: LYCA2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

The spiny branches of this shrub are erect or spreading, may be up to 6 ft. long, and bear small, succulent leaves. The four-petaled, somewhat tubular, lavender to blue flowers usually occur singly and are followed by fleshy, red berries.

The Christmas Berry is a member of the nightshade family (family Solanaceae) which includes herbs, shrubs, vines, and trees with often showy flowers generally in branched clusters.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Size Notes: 4-6 feet.
Leaf: Green
Flower: Flowers 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch
Fruit: Red 1/4 inch
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct

Distribution

USA: AL , FL , GA , LA , MS , SC , TX
Native Distribution: Coastal plain from SC to TX
Native Habitat: Ditches, Ravines, Depressions, Swamps, Marshes

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Coastal sands; tolerates salinity. Gravelly, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Saline tolerant.
Conditions Comments: The spiny branches of this shrub are erect or spreading, and bear small, succulent leaves. The four-petaled, somewhat tubular, lavender to blue flowers usually occur singly and are followed by fleshy, red berries. The berries are edible and have a sweet, tomato-like taste. Tolerates saline sites.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Fruits ornamental, Ground cover
Use Wildlife: Nectar-insects, Fruit-birds, Browse: deer, racoons and other wildlife.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds
Nectar Source: yes

Propagation

Description: Propagation by seed is possible.
Seed Collection: Ripe berries may be picked from the bushes in the fall and the seeds extracted by maceration.
Seed Treatment: Seed dormancy in this genus is variable. Seeds of some species may require stratification at 41 degrees for 60-120 days.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FACW FACW
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Far South Wholesale Nursery - Austin, TX

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-1093 Collected 2007-09-06 in Cameron County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Bibliography

Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Lycium carolinianum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Lycium carolinianum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Lycium carolinianum

Metadata

Record Last Modified: 2009-02-09
Research By: TWC Staff

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