Lycium barbarum L.

Chinese Box-thorn

Sp. Pl. 192 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Shrub to 2.5 m high, more or less glabrous; main branches arching, lateral branches often few, leafless, reduced to a short slender spine. Leaves both single and clustered; single leaves ovate to elliptic, mostly 30–50 mm long, 5–15 mm wide, apex usually acute, base attenuate into a short petiole, margins entire, scarcely fleshy, green, persistent; clustered leaves narrow-ovate to elliptic, mostly 8–15 mm long, 2–5 mm wide. Flowers usually solitary in axils; pedicels 6–15 mm long; calyx more or less campanulate, 3–4 mm long, lobes triangular, 1–2 mm long; fruiting calyx 2-lipped; corolla 10–12 mm long, pale lilac, blotched deep lilac on each lobe, lobes ovate; stamens 5, exserted by 3–8 mm, anthers 1–2 mm long; pistil 8–11.5 mm long. Berry ellipsoid, 5–9 mm long, red; seeds c. 20, c. 2 mm long, yellowish. Flowers mainly spring–autumn.

*EGU, *GipP, *Gold, *MuF, *NIS, *OtP, *VRiv, *Wim. Also naturalised SA, Qld, NSW, Tas., New Zealand. Native to central China. Widespread in Victoria, often escaping from gardens.

Source: Jeanes, J.A. (1999). Solanaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 4, Cornaceae to Asteraceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Daniel Ohlsen, 2017-06-14
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Asteranae
order Solanales
family Solanaceae
genus Lycium
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Lycium barbarum in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Lycium barbarum in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Wimmera present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present introduced
Murray Fans present introduced
Gippsland Plain present introduced
Otway Plain present introduced
Goldfields present naturalised
Northern Inland Slopes present naturalised
East Gippsland Uplands present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory