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:
Marcus, Joseph A.
Lycium carolinianum Walter
Carolina wolfberry, Carolina desert-thorn, Creeping wolfberry, Christmas berry
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 CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf Retention: Evergreen Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Breeding System:
Flowers Bisexual Size Notes:
4-6 feet. Leaf:
Flowers 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch Fruit:
Red 1/4 inch Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
, TX Native Distribution:
Coastal plain from SC
to TX Native Habitat:
Ditches, Ravines, Depressions, Swamps, Marshes
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
High Light Requirement:
Sun , Part Shade Soil Moisture:
Moist CaCO3 Tolerance:
Medium Cold Tolerant:
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.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Fruits ornamental, Ground cover
Use Wildlife: Nectar-insects, Fruit-birds, Browse: deer, racoons and other wildlife.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Nectar Source: yes
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:
National Wetland Indicator Status
|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 BankLBJWC-1093
Collected 2007-09-06 in Cameron County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Record Last Modified: 2009-02-09
Research By: TWC Staff