The Temperate Database is in the process of being updated, with new records being added and old ones being checked and brought up to date where necessary. This record has not yet been checked and updated.
Lycium afrum is a deciduous shrub that can grow up to 2.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
Although no records of toxicity have been seen for this species, it does belong to a family that contains many poisonous plants. Some caution should be applied, especially towards leaves or unripe fruits, though ripe fruits are almost certainly edible.
Karroid scrub, Clanwilliam to Port Elizabeth. Dry soils near the sea[
An easily grown plant, succeeding in most soils[
]. It does not require a rich soil, flowering and fruiting better in a well-drained soil of moderate quality[
]. It succeeds in impoverished soils[
]. Requires a sunny position[
]. Tolerates maritime exposure[
This species is not very hardy in Britain, it tolerates short-lived frosts down to about -5°[
]. It requires the protection of a sunny wall if it is to flower and fruit in Britain[
A very spiny plant[
Any pruning is best carried out in the spring[
Fruit - raw or cooked. Whilst the ripe fruit is probably wholesome, some caution is advised. See the notes above on toxicity. The fruit is a berry about 8mm in diameter[
The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids and other bio-active compounds. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers[
Plants are used as a hedge, forming a thorny and impenetrable barrier[
]. This species is probably too tender in Britain for this use[
Plants have an extensive root system and can be planted to stabilize banks[
Seed - sow early spring in a greenhouse. Germination is usually good and fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Pinch out the shoot tips of the young plants in order to encourage bushy growth[
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel if possible, mid summer in individual pots in a frame. Good percentage[
Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, autumn to late winter in a cold frame. High percentage[
Division of suckers in late winter. Very easy, the suckers can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.