Lycium ferocissimum, African Boxthorn

Small to medium shrubs
Scientific Name
Lycium ferocissimum
Common Name/s
African Boxthorn
Weed Information

Status: Regionally Controlled.

Threat: High threat environmental weed.

Description: An erect spiny shrub to five metres tall with spreading branches.

Flowers: Scented, white with some purple markings in centre, 1cm in diameter and containing five petals that form a tube at base. Occurring singly or in pairs, appears mainly in spring to early summer but also at other times.

Fruit: Berry 12mm in size on long stalks, green becoming orange to red at maturity containing up to 70 seeds. Retained on plant for long time if not eaten.

Leaves: Roughly oval shaped and tapering to base. Glossy green and appearing in clusters of 5–12 along branches. 1–3cm long and fleshy when plant is active. Leaves are shed when the conditions are unfavourable.

Stems: Erect, woody, multi-branched, hairless and bearing spines of up to 15cm long along and at the end of branches.

Roots: Extensive, deep, woody and sucker vigorously if cut.

Note: Forms dense, impenetrable thickets, restricting stock and human access to water, tracks and fences etc. Fruits dispersed by birds and animals (e.g. foxes, skinks). Spikes can cause injury and puncture car tyres. Harbours pest animals, such as rabbits, and native birds if other native shrub species absent.

Control measures: Hand weeding, spot spraying, mowing/slashing, cut and paint or drill or frill and fill with suitable herbicide.

Dispersal: Water, seeds, vegetative, wind.