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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 14 | Solanaceae | Lycium

9. Lycium carolinianum Walter, Fl. Carol. 84. 1788.

Carolina wolfberry, Christmas berry

Lycium carolinianum var. gaumeri C. L. Hitchcock; L. carolinianum var. quadrifidum (Mociño & Sessé ex Dunal) C. L. Hitchcock; L. carolinianum var. sandwicense (A. Gray) C. L. Hitchcock; L. sandwicense A. Gray

Shrubs erect to prostrate, 0.4–3 m; bark tan to gray; stems glabrous. Leaves: blade spatulate to oblanceolate, 10–35 × 1–6 mm, fleshy, surfaces glabrous. Inflorescences 2–3-flowered fascicles or solitary flowers. Pedicels 5–30 mm. Flowers bisexual or pistillate, 4(–5)-merous; calyx cupulate, 3 mm, lobe lengths ± 1 times tube; corolla white to purple, campanulate-rotate, 7–12 mm, lobe lengths ± 1 times tube; stamens exserted. Berries red, globose, 10 mm, fleshy. Seeds 50+. 2n = 24 (48).

Flowering Jan–Dec. Coastal dunes, tidal flats, wet­lands, salt marshes; 0–5 m; Ala., Fla., Ga., La., Miss., Tex.; Mexico; West Indies (Cuba); e Asia (Japan: Daiton Islands, Ogasawara Islands); Pacific Islands (Easter Island, Hawaii, French Polynesia, Pitcairn Islands, Tonga).

Lycium carolinianum is the most widespread species of the genus and shows considerable variation in habit, from prostrate to relatively short and unbranched, to taller and intricately branched. Within the flora area, L. carolinianum is most common in the Gulf Coast areas of Florida and Texas; it also occurs in Louisiana, southwestern Alabama (Mobile County), southeastern Georgia (Camden County), and southeastern Mississippi (Jackson County). Historically, L. carolinianum has been reported from coastal South Carolina. Fruits (especially in Florida and Texas) tend to be pleasantly sweet and juicy.

SELECTED REFERENCE Blank, C. M., R. A. Levin, and J. S. Miller. 2014. Intraspecific variation in gender strategies in Lycium (Solanaceae): Associations with ploidy and changes in floral form following the evolution of gender dimorphism. Amer. J. Bot. 101: 2160–2168.


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