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Lycium carolinianum (Carolina wolfberry) | NPIN
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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

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 on display at the following locations:

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

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank

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

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

Metadata

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

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