Thursday, February 2, 2012

Box-Thorn, Gojiberry & Wolfberries

Lycium
A genus of nearly 100 species of shrubs native to western North America, Eurasia and Africa, that are part of the larger Solaneaecae ( Tomato ) family.
The abundantly produced fruits on many can be eaten raw but are usually better dried or cooked. The natives often dried them like raisons and stored them for winter.
Propagation is from seed, layering, suckers or cuttings.

Lycium andersonii ( Anderson Box-Thorn )
A moderate growing, dense, rounded, drought-deciduous shrub, reaching a maximum height of 9 ( rarely over 5 ) feet. It is native to the desert southwest from central California to Nevada to Arizona; south to the Baja Peninsula to Sonora State in Mexico. The Anderson Box-Thorn has a fibrous root system up to 18 feet across.
The thick, succulent, spathulate leaves, up to 1 ( rarely over 0.7 ) inches in length, are bright blue-green.
The white to pale purple flowers, up to 0.3 inches in length, are borne during spring.
They are followed by orange or red berries up to 0.4 inches across.
The pale gray stems bear thorns up to 0.8 inches in length.
Hardy zones 9 to 10 ( tolerates as low as 10 F ) in full sun on sandy or gravelly well drained soil. It thrives where yearly rainfall is as low as 5 inches and tolerates extreme heat well. It is moderately tolerant of salt and alkaline soil.

Lycium barbarum ( Gojiberry, Chinese Wolfberry )
A deciudous, arching to spreading, shrub or small tree, reaching a maximum size of 20 x 25 ( rarely over 10 ) feet, that is native from southeastern Europe to western China.
The lance-shaped or ellipical leaves, up to 2.5 x 0.25 ( rarely over 1.2 ) inches in size, are gray-green.
The pale-purple, tubular flowers, up to 0.4 inches in length, are borne singly or in clusters up to 4 during late spring into early summer.
They are followed by edible, orange-red, oblong fruits up to 1 x 0.4 inches in size.
The berries are extremely rich in Vitamin A, minerals, amino acids and antioxidents.
A very good beverage can be made from crushing the berries and steeping them in hot water.
The spiny branches of this plant make it an excellent barrier hedge.
Hardy zones 4 to 9 ( possibly 3 for seed source from Inner Mongolia ), despite its natural range, it is tolerant of maritime climates and can be grown in the British Isles. It requires full sun or partial shade on just about any well drained soil. Gojiberry is not prone to insect pests or disease.

* photo of unknown internet source

* historical archive photo


'Sweet Little Berry'
Sweet, tasty fruits ( the fruits on many wild plants are often bitter ), otherwise similar.

* photo taken by Milan Havlis, owner of central Europe's premier plant nursery


Lycium carolinianum ( Carolina Desert-Thorn )
A moderate growing, spiny, suckering, vase-shaped to spreading, deciduous or evergreen shrub, reaching up to 10 x 6 feet in height, that is native to marshes and swamps in the southeastern U.S. ( from central Texas to South Carolina; south to south Florida ). It is endangered in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia & South Carolina.
The alternately-arranged, small, oblanceolate succulent leaves are green.
The lavender or blue, tubular flowers, up to 0.5 inches in length, are borne during autumn.
They are followed by an edible scarlet-red berry up to 0.25 inches long, ripening late autumn and persisting into early winter. Birds love to feast on the berries.
Hardy zones 7b to 11 in full sun to partial shade on moist soil. It is heat, flood and salt tolerant, it can also tolerate temporary drought. It is not normally affected by insect pests or disease.

* photos taken @ U.S. Botanical Garden, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014


Lycium chinensis ( Chinese Box-Thorn )
A vigorous, arching to speading, deciduous, large shrub that is native from southeast Europe to China, Korea and Japan; south to Pakistan to Nepal to Taiwan.
The ovate leaves, up to 4 x 2 ( usually half ) inches in size, are smooth and bright green.
The purple, funnel-shaped flowers are borne singly or in clusters up to 4 during late spring.
They are followed by showy, intense scarlet-red, oblong fruits, up to 1 x 0.3 inches in size, ripening late summer and persisting into late autumn.
The pale gray stems are usually thornless, unlike most species of Lycium. When thorns do occur, they can be up to 0.8 inches in length.
Hardy zones 4b to 9 in full sun on well drained soil. It thrives at Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, Canada. In trials at Indian Head, Sask. and Brandon, Manitoba on the northern Great Plains, it froze back to the ground each winter but grew vigorously up to 8 feet each season. It is tolerant of saline soil and salt spray making it an excellent plant for binding sand dunes by the sea.

* historic archive photo


Lycium depressum
A spiny shrub, reaching a maximum height of 8 feet, that is native from western Russia to central Asia; south to Isreal to Iran. Its dense, spreading root-system makes it very useful for binding sand dunes.
The oblong or spathulate leaves, up to 2 x 0.7 inches in size, are deep green.
The pale violet ( rarely white ) flowers are borne during late spring.
They are followed by showy, oval, scarlet-red berries up to 0.25 inches across.
Hardy zones 6 to 10 ( 5 on protected sites ) in full sun on sandy ( or clay on slopes ), very well drained soil. It is very tolerant of heat, drought and salt.

Lycium fremontii ( Fremont's Box-Thorn )
A very attractive, moderate growing, dense, arching to spreading, drought-deciduous shrub, reaching a maximum size of 13 x 10 ( rarely over 5 x 8 ) feet. It is native to the desert southwest from southern California to southern Nevada to Arizona; south to northwestern Mexico ).
The thick, succulent, spathulate leaves, up to 1.4 x 0.6 ( rarely over 0.7 ) inches in size, are bright blue-green.
The pale purple flowers, up to 0.8 inches in length, are borne during early spring then sporadically after.
They are followed by juicy, glossy scarlet-red, oval fruits, up to 0.4 x 0.3 inches in size, that ripen the following spring. The fruits are great for attracting birds to the landscape.
The stems are brown later turning to gray. They are armed with sharp spines.
Hardy zones 8b to 10 ( tolerates at least 10 F and hardiest seed source should be tested in 7 & 8 ) in partial shade on very well drained soil. Propagation is the same as for Lycium ruthenicum.

Lycium pallidum ( Box Thorn )
A very long-lived, moderate growing, suckering, dense, arching shrub, reaching a maximum height of 10 x 6 ( rarly over 6 ) feet. It is usually evergreen, unlike many other species which can be drought deciduous. It is native to the southwest ( from California to central Nevada to southern Colorado to western Oklahoma; south to northern Mexico and Texas ). The roots are very widespreading making transplanting of established plants nearly impossible.
The thick, succulent, oblong or obovate leaves, up to 2 x 0.6 ( usually half ) inches in size, are bright blue-green.
The creamy-white to pale green flowers, up to 0.5 inches in length, are borne singly or in pairs during early spring.
They are followed by edible, juicy, glossy red, oval fruits, up to 0.4 inches, during summer lasting into autumn. The fruits are highly attractive to birds.
The stems are armed with sharp spines.
Hardy zones 5 to 10 ( seed source from endangered population in far west Oklahoma is the hardiest ) in full sun on very well drained soil. It is very salt soil and sea spray tolerant. Pale Box-Thorn sprouts readily when cut. It is very difficult to root from cuttings.

* historic archive photo


Lycium ruthenicum ( Russian Box THorn )
A spiny, divaricate, sprambling shrub, reaching a maximum height of 6 feet, that is native from western Europe to Kazakhstan to Mongolia to northwest China; south to Kashmir, Tibet and Afganistan. It is usually found on salty or sandy desert in the wild.
The linear leaves, up to 1.2 x 0.1 inches in size, are deep green.
The creamy-white or pink flowers are borne during summer.
They are followed by edible, glossy black berries up to 0.4 inches across. Russian Box-Thorn does not need a pollinator as the flowers are pollinated by bees.
Hardy zones 6 to 8 ( 5 on protected sites ) in full sun on sandy, very well drained soil. It is very tolerant of drought and salt. Its extensive root system and tolerance of salt spray makes it suitable for binding coastal sand dunes. Propagation is from seed sown in a greenhouse during early spring. They seed usually germinated readily and quickly. When large enough to handle, transplant into individual containers and keep in a greenhouse for the following winter. They can be planted outdoors during the late spring following. Pinch the tips of 1 to 2 year old plants to encouarage bushy habit. Russian Box Thorn can also be reproduced from layering and be separated suckers. They can also be propagated from semi-ripe cuttings 3 to 4 inches long during mid to late summer. Ripened cuttings from current seasons growth can be laken late autumn into winter and placed in a cold frame.

No comments:

Post a Comment