Lycium ferocissimum

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African boxthorn
African boxthorn flower.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Tribe: Lycieae
Genus: Lycium
Species: L. ferocissimum
Binomial name
Lycium ferocissimum

Lycium ferocissimum (African boxthorn or boxthorn) is a shrub in the nightshade family (Solanaceae). The species is native to Cape Province and Orange Free State in South Africa and has become naturalised in Australia and New Zealand.[1] It is listed on the Noxious Weed List for Australian States and Territories and is a declared noxious weed in the United States.[1][2]


African boxthorn is a large shrub which grows up to 5 metres (16 ft) high and is covered in spines.

The leaves are oval in shape and are 10–40 millimetres (0.39–1.57 in) long and 4–10 millimetres (0.16–0.39 in) in width.

The solitary flowers emerge from the leaf axils and are purplish.

The species was first formally described in 1854 by British botanist John Miers in the Annals and Magazine of Natural History. His description was based on plant material collected from Uitenhage in South Africa.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Taxon: Lycium ferocissimum Miers". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Area. Retrieved 28 January 2008. .
  2. ^ "Noxious Weed List for Australian States and Territories" (PDF). Australian Weeds Committee. Retrieved 28 January 2008. 
  3. ^ "Lycium ferocissimum". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government, Canberra. Retrieved 2 August 2011.