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Bolivar Naturally

Carolina Wolfberry

Carolina Wolfberry
Carolina Wolfberry

Winnie Burkett. Photographed on the Bolivar Peninsula.

Lycium carolinianum

Alternate Name: Christmas berry

Family: Nightshade (Solanaceae)

Habitat: Brackish water, ditches, sandy soil

Height: 1-3 feet

Bloom Period: March - April

Description: Carolina wolfberry is a very adaptable small shrub. It grows well in sandy and clay soils. It tolerates standing water for long periods but is also drought resistant. With enough water in summer, it is evergreen. Leaves are fleshy. Branches have sharp thorns. Growth is upright or sprawling. Lavender flowers have 4 lobes. Red berries ripen in late autumn or early winter; they look similar to small tomatoes and were eaten by Native Americans.

The Wildlife Connection: Berries are relished by many species of birds and other wildlife.

Propagation Tips: Commercially available.