Flowers, fruit, and leaves. Photo: Don Wood, south coast, NSW

Flowers and leaves. Australian Plant Image Index, photo: Murray Fagg, Mount Ainslie, ACT

Fruit and leaves. Australian Plant Image Index, photo: Murray Fagg, Mungindi, NSW

Shrub. Photo: Don Wood, Overland Corner, SA

Common Name

African Boxthorn




Introduced shrub to 6m tall.  Branches spiny. Side branches leafy, ending in a sharp spine. Leafless in drought.  Leaves slightly fleshy, in clusters, sometimes alternating up the stems on young shoots for a short time.  Leaves 0.6-4cm long, 2-20mm wide, flat, hairless.  Flowers mauve or white, tubular, with 5(sometimes 4) lobes, solitary (sometimes in pairs) on stems arising from the bases of the leaves.  Fruit orange-red to bright red.  A weed of national significance. Noxious weed in all NSW.  Declared plant in SA.  Noxious weed in Vic.

Differs from Lycium australe in that the main branches tend to arch downwards at the tips and the short leafy side branches are spiny.

Differs from Lycium barbarum in that the fruit is round.

Description and photo in G.M. Cunningham, WE Mulham, PL Milthorpe and J H Leigh (1981 and later printings) Plants of Western New South Wales page 587

PlantNET description:

Online fact sheet published by the South Australian Herbarium:

Weeds of Australia Biosecurity Queensland description: