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A picture of a Box Thorn

Box Thorn

Lycium barbarum

Also known as

Goji Berry, Duke Of Argyll's Teaplant, Wolf Berry, Matrimony Vine, Chinese Box Thorn, Duke Of Argyll's Tea Tree, Barbary Box Thorn, Barbary Wolfberry, Common Matrimony Vine, Vicar's Tea Party, Tibetan Goji Berry, Barbary Matrimony-Vine, Chinese Wolfberry, Himalayan Goji, Goji-Berry

Full Sun
Moderate care
Moderate watering
Half-hardy

5a-9b

USDA zone

-29°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

4m

Max

2m

1m

Min

1m

Fruiting

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

Plants begin to fruit after 2-3 years. Harvest berries from late summer until early winter. Only fully ripe fruit is edible. Fruit can turn black when handled so harvest by shaking the berries gently from the plant onto a sheet or blanket placed beneath and minimize handling!

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A photo of Box Thorn
A photo of Box Thorn

Box Thorn Overview

Goji Berry is a remarkable species with the ability to withstand tremendously high and low temperatures. This thorny and ​woody shrub grows delicious edible small cherry tomato like fruit and can thrive in a range of soil types with varying climatic conditions, making this species a must grow in many regions of South Africa.

Common problems with Box Thorn

Aphids can be a problem and netting may be necessary to protect fruit from birds. Not allowed to import plants in many countries because of pests and diseases that can spread to other Solanum crops like potatoes and tomatoes.

How to propagate Box Thorn

Seed

Sow seeds indoors in spring and cover with a fine compost layer.

Cuttings

Take softwood or semi-ripe cuttings in summer and hardwood cuttings in winter. Give rooted cuttings protection in their first winter and plant out the following spring.

Layering

Layer plants in autumn.

Suckers

Lift and replant suckers in late winter, plant it straight into their proposed planting position.

Special features of Box Thorn

Attracts useful insects

Including bees and butterflies.

Hedge plant

This species is perfect for screening as it grows quite tall and its thorny branches make a great border barrier species to keep out unwanted people.

Drought resistant

Drought tolerant once they are established.

Pot plant

They adapt well to containers provided they are deep and well draining, growing into more compact plants that do not spread.

Attracts birds

Birds love the bright red berries

Attractive fruits

Large, bright orange-red cherry tomato like berry usually harvested in Autumn.

Other uses of Box Thorn

Edible

The berries are edible and contain vitamin B, vitamin C, and amino acids.

Medicinal

It is said that a tonic of the berries can be made to lower the blood pressure and cholesterol and many more medicinal uses.