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.
Common Name: Desert Thorn
Lycium fremontii is a deciduous shrub that can grow up to 3.00 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.
South-western N. America.
Rather alkaline places below 450 metres in deserts and creosote bush scrub[
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus.
Does not require a rich soil, flowering and fruiting better in a well-drained soil of moderate quality[
]. Succeeds in impoverished soils[
]. Requires a sunny position[
]. Tolerates maritime exposure[
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. The berries can be dried and used like raisins[
]. The dried berries can be boiled, added as a flavouring to soups, or can be ground into a powder and then used with cereal flours[
]. Only the fully ripe fruits should be eaten[
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 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.