*Lycium ferocissimum

Family Solanaceae

African Boxthorn

Intricately branched shrub to 4 m high, with long rigid branches, lateral branches ending in stout spines.  Longevity 25 - 50 years.

Flowers: Pale lilac or white, January – May.

Fruit: Dull orange/red berry, 5 - 10 mm diameter, January – May. Fruit eaten and dispersed by birds, foxes, skinks, viable when excreted.

Seed: 35-70 seeds per fruit.

Gallery images: seed, seedling, rootstock, resprout


  • Native of South Africa.
  • Weed of woodland and wastelands in partial shade to full sun.
  • Occasional weed in woodland at the Australian Botanic Garden.
  • Resprouts when cut or damaged.
  • Probably resprouts after fire.
  • Plants can lose leaves and become virtually dormant during extended dry spells or over winter.
  • Recruitment concentrated under bird perch trees.
  • Thickets provide habitat for rabbits.

Asterisk * indicates exotic species naturalised at the Australian Botanic Garden.

Ecology of Cumberland Plain Woodland

Lycium feroissimum plant

Lycium feroissimum flower 

Lycium ferocissimum fruit