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Lycium barbarum (Chinese box thorn)

Beginner
skill rating
1 hour care
per year
3.5m
Max height
5m
Max spread
10-20 years
To maturity
Low
Toxicity

Plant details

Botanical name

Lycium barbarum

Other names

Chinese box thorn, Duke of Argyll's tea tree, Barbary box thorn, Barbary wolfberry, Common matrimony vine, Vicar's Tea Party, Tibetan Goji berry, Lycium halimifolium, Wolfberry, Chinese wolfberry

Genus

Lycium Lycium

Species

L. barbarum - L. barbarum is a variable, vigorous, erect or wide-spreading, deciduous shrub with arching, spiny branches bearing lance-shaped, elliptic or ovate, mid-green to grey-green leaves. Small clusters of funnel-shaped, purple, lilac or pink flowers in late spring and summer are followed by orange-red or yellow fruit.


Lycium barbarum is: Deciduous

Habit

Arching, Branching, Climbing, Spreading, Upright

Toxicity

Leaves and unripe fruit may cause mild stomach upset if ingested.

Flower

Pink, Lilac, Purple in Spring; Purple, Pink, Lilac in Summer

Foliage

Mid-green, Grey-green in Spring; Mid-green, Grey-green in Summer

How to care

Watch out for

Pests

Generally pest-free.

General care

Pruning

Pruning group 1 or pruning group 11 in winter or early summer. If grown as a hedge, cut back in spring and trim in early summer.

Propagation

Sow seed in containers outside in autumn.

Propagation methods

Hardwood cuttings, Seed, Softwood cuttings


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Where to grow

Lycium barbarum (Chinese box thorn) will reach a height of 3.5m and a spread of 5m after 10-20 years.

Suggested uses

Banks and Slopes, Coastal, Hedging/Screens, Wallside and trellises, Waterside

Cultivation

Grow in moderately fertile, well-drained soil in full sun. Dislikes the shade, but can tolerate salty maritime exposure. Consider planting against a wall or a trellis where it can be trained to climb. Suitable for use as a hedge.

Soil type

Chalky, Clay, Loamy, Sandy (will tolerate most soil types)

Soil drainage

Moist but well-drained, Well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Light

Full Sun

Aspect

South, West

Exposure

Exposed, Sheltered

UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4)

Companion plants

We do not currently have companion plants added for this plant.

Botanical name

Lycium barbarum

Other names

Chinese box thorn, Duke of Argyll's tea tree, Barbary box thorn, Barbary wolfberry, Common matrimony vine, Vicar's Tea Party, Tibetan Goji berry, Lycium halimifolium, Wolfberry, Chinese wolfberry

Genus

Lycium Lycium

Species

L. barbarum - L. barbarum is a variable, vigorous, erect or wide-spreading, deciduous shrub with arching, spiny branches bearing lance-shaped, elliptic or ovate, mid-green to grey-green leaves. Small clusters of funnel-shaped, purple, lilac or pink flowers in late spring and summer are followed by orange-red or yellow fruit.

Native to

Asia, Southeastern Asia

Foliage

Deciduous

Habit

Arching, Branching, Climbing, Spreading, Upright

Toxicity

Leaves and unripe fruit may cause mild stomach upset if ingested.


Colour

Flower

Pink, Lilac, Purple in Spring; Purple, Pink, Lilac in Summer

Foliage

Mid-green, Grey-green in Spring; Mid-green, Grey-green in Summer


How to care

Watch out for

Pests

Generally pest-free.

General care

Pruning

Pruning group 1 or pruning group 11 in winter or early summer. If grown as a hedge, cut back in spring and trim in early summer.

Propagation

Sow seed in containers outside in autumn.

Propagation methods

Hardwood cuttings, Seed, Softwood cuttings


Monthly care advice


Where to grow

Lycium barbarum (Chinese box thorn) will reach a height of 3.5m and a spread of 5m after 10-20 years.

Suggested uses

Banks and Slopes, Coastal, Hedging/Screens, Wallside and trellises, Waterside

Cultivation

Grow in moderately fertile, well-drained soil in full sun. Dislikes the shade, but can tolerate salty maritime exposure. Consider planting against a wall or a trellis where it can be trained to climb. Suitable for use as a hedge.

Soil type

Chalky, Clay, Loamy, Sandy (will tolerate most soil types)

Soil drainage

Moist but well-drained, Well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Light

Full Sun

Aspect

South, West

Exposure

Exposed, Sheltered

UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4)

USDA zones

Zone 9, Zone 8, Zone 7, Zone 6, Zone 5

Defra's Risk register #1

Plant name

Lycium barbarum (Chinese box thorn)

Common pest name

; Black wood of grapevine; Female sterility of tobacco; Fruit woodiness of tomato; Maize Redness; Mal azul of tomato; Metabolbur; Metastolbur; Parastolbur; Purple top of potato; Stolbur of potato; Stolbur of tobacco; Stolbur of tomato

Scientific pest name

Candidatus Phytoplasma solani

Type

Phytoplasma

Current status in UK

Absent

Likelihood to spread to UK (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

3

Impact (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

4

General biosecurity comments

Phytoplasma which potentially affects a wide host range; determined by the feeding behaviour of vectors. First UK outbreak in 2014; on strawberry; a host not specifically regulated in EU legislation. This legislation should be reviewed to take account of this and other developments.

Defra's Risk register #2

Plant name

Lycium barbarum (Chinese box thorn)

Common pest name

Scientific pest name

Xiphinema bakeri

Type

Nematode

Current status in UK

Absent

Likelihood to spread to UK (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

2

Impact (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

4

General biosecurity comments

Nematode pest; could potentially affect trees and other species if introduced but many pathways regulated. No evidence of interceptions or findings to date.

Defra's Risk register #3

Plant name

Lycium barbarum (Chinese box thorn)

Common pest name

Lance nematode; Nematode; Lance

Scientific pest name

Hoplolaimus spp.

Type

Nematode

Current status in UK

Absent

Likelihood to spread to UK (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

2

Impact (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

4

General biosecurity comments

Nematode species potentially affecting a wide variety of crops; prohibition of soil likely to mitigate risk substantially; keep under review in light of interceptions or findings should they occur in the EU.

About this section

Our plants are under greater threat than ever before. There is increasing movement of plants and other material traded from an increasing variety of sources. This increases the chances of exotic pests arriving with imported goods and travellers, as well as by natural means. Shoot is working with Defra to help members to do their part in preventing the introduction and spread of invasive risks.

Traveling or importing plants? Please read "Don't risk it" advice here

Suspected outbreak? Click here for contact details to report to the relevant authority.

Date updated: 7th March 2019 For more information visit: https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/

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This plant likes... Garden match
Soil types: Chalky, Clay, Loamy, Sandy (will tolerate most soil types) Tell us...
Soil drainage: Moist but well-drained, Well-drained Tell us...
Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral Tell us...
Light: Full Sun Tell us...
Aspect: South, West Tell us...
Exposure: Exposed, Sheltered Tell us...
Hardiness: Hardy (H4) Tell us...

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