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Christmas Berry

Christmas berry, Lycium carolinanum, is a tardily deciduous, and many times evergreen, shrub that rarely exceeds six feet in height. It is sparingly branched with many of the curving branches ending in a sharp thorn. The leaves are dull gray-green, thick, succulent, 1/2 inch long, narrowly ovate, and smooth with entire margins. The flowers are pale lavender in color and are born in the leaf axils. The corolla of the small flower may be lavender to nearly white with the throat being streaked with purple. The blooms appear in March through December. The fruit ripens in late autumn or early winter. The berry is a bright, lustrous red when ripe and elliptic to oval in shape. Birds are very fond of the fruit.  Christmas berry is related to goji berries ... the new health food ... another common name for it is wolfberry (Lycium chinenis). Christmas berry is very salt tolerant and is found growing in salt water all along the nature coast.  In rocky areas it can be found growing in between rock crevices.   Christmas berry grows in full sun, with average moisture, and an average pH.  Some native plant nurseries in our area carry Christmas berry.  Propogation is best done by transplants. In Hernando County a beautiful example of it in nature can be found at Jenkin's Creek Park.  Head across the bridge and you will find a huge colony of Christmas berry that runs throughout the walking paths.
Christmas berry flower ripe Christmas berry fruit
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