En EspaŅol
Lycium torreyi (Torrey wolfberry) | NPIN

NPIN: Native Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Search native plant database:
See a list of all Plants

Lycium torreyi (Torrey wolfberry)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Lycium torreyi

Lycium torreyi A. Gray

Torrey Wolfberry, Desert-thorn, Box-thorn, Squawberry, Rabbit-thorn, Tomatillo, Garambullo

Solanaceae (Potato Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Spiny (sometimes nearly unarmed), spreading to sprawling shrub often forming thickets. To 3 meters in height. Spatulate to oblanceolate-elliptic to 5 cm in length, borne thickly on the branches and dehiscing during droughts to be quickly replaced after rains. Flowers 1 to 3 in a fascicle, greenish-lavender to white, with five corolla lobes. Berries are bright red and juicy.


Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Semi-evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Elliptic , Oblanceolate , Spatulate
Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
Leaf Margin: Entire
Leaf Apex: Acute
Leaf Texture: Leathery , Smooth
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Size Notes: 6-9
Fruit: Bright red. 6-10mm
Size Class: 6-12 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Green , Violet
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: Often flowers after fall rains. Fruit is produced from June through September.


USA: AZ , CA , NM , NV , TX , UT
Native Distribution: TX, NM, AZ, UT, NV, CA and MX.
Native Habitat: Mesquite, Saltbush, Tarbush and Creosotebush scrubland near arroyos and on alkalai sacatons.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Drought Tolerance: High
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Fine, silty, alluvial soils.
Conditions Comments: West Texas from El Paso to Big Bend.


Use Wildlife: Berries are eaten by birds. Cover and habitat for birds and small mammals.
Attracts: Birds


Propagation Material: Seeds , Semi-hardwood Cuttings

Recommended Species Lists

Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.

View Recommended Species page

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2009-04-08
Research By: Joe Marcus

Go back

© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center