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Christmasberry, Carolina Wolfberry, Carolina Desert-thorn, Creeping Wolfberry - Lycium carolinianum


Family: Solanaceae - Potato family Genus Common Name: Desert-thorn Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Shrub
Lycium carolinianum - Christmasberry, Carolina Wolfberry, Carolina Desert-thorn, Creeping Wolfberry. There are 22 species of Lycium - Desert-thorn - found in the United States, most of which are southwestern species. Lycium carolilnianum is the only native Desert-thorn found east of the Mississippi River.

Lycium carolinianum is a shrub that grows from 6 to 10 feet tall. The branches are sharp-tipped.

Found in:
AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, SC, TX

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Lycium carolinianum

Distribution of Lycium carolinianum in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 20 Nov 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: De Soto National Monument, Manatee County, FL Date: 2011-December-21Photographer: Cindy Williamson
Nikon D40
Christmasberry will have brilliant red berries in late fall and early winter. These photos were taken just a few days before Christmas, explaining the Christmasberry common name for the plant.
Lycium carolinianum

Site: De Soto National Monument, Manatee County, FL Date: 2011-December-21Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
The blossom has 4 petals which are are white underneath and white, lavender, or blue on top, with purple streaks into the corolla tube. There are 4 stamens with dark anthers and a green-tipped pistil which darkens to brown. The stamens extend beyond both the corolla and the pistil. Bees are apparently among the pollenators.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Lycium carolinianum

Site: De Soto National Monument, Manatee County, FL Date: 2011-December-21Photographer: Cindy Williamson
The succulent leaves are leaves are linear to oblong, covering the rambling 6 to 10 foot tall shrub. The shrub can be part of a nearly impenetrable thicket in areas which also host mangroves.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Lycium carolinianum

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer