Lycium californicum Nutt. ex A. Gray
Family: Solanaceae
California desert-thorn,  more...
Lycium californicum image
L. R. Landrum  
PLANT: Shrub, usually no more than 0.5 m tall in ours, intricately branched, decumbent or spreading, the branchlets usually tipped with short blunt thorns, otherwise unarmed. LEAVES: glabrous, fleshy, subterete, ovoid or spatuloid, 2-25 mm long, 1-3 mm wide, 2-8 in a fascicle, subsessile. FLOWERS: 1-3 in the axils, on pedicels 1-5 mm long (Fig. 2F); calyx campanulate, 2-2.5 mm long, 2-4-1obed, the lobes about 1/3 the length of the tube, broadly triangular, puberulent, usually ciliolate, or calyx laterally compressed, with 2 well-developed keeled lobes and 2 obsolete ones; calyx not keeled, with 4 subequal lobes, much shorter than length of the tube; corolla white to pale purple, the tube 2-4.5 mm long, the lobes 4, oblong-ovate, about as long as the tube or slightly shorter than it, spreading or reflexed, sparsely ciliolate; stamens 4, exserted; filaments adnate a little above the middle of the corolla-tube, the base of the free portion and adjacent corolla-tube densely hairy; style usually surpassing the stamens. FRUITS: ovoid, 2-4 mm long, orange-red or red, with thin succulent exocarps, endocarps much hardened, the carpels separating rather readily at maturity, each carpel 1-seeded. N = 12, 18, 24. NOTES: Low sparse desert with apparently poor drainage and hard saline soils, often associated with L. fremontii and Atriplex polycarpa (Fig. 3A): Maricopa, Pima, Pinal cos. (Fig. 1C); 350-450 m (1200-1500 ft); Jan-Mar; CA; n Mex. A species of four varieties; in AZ only L. c. var. arizonicum A. Gray is found, which differs from other varieties in its extremely fleshy globular to pyriform leaves and uncompressed calyx with subequal calyx-lobes. REFERENCES: Windham, M.D. And G. Yatskievych. 2009. Vascular Plants of Arizona: Iso√ętaceae. CANOTIA 5 (1): 27-29, 2009.
Common Name: California desert-thorn Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Shrub Synonyms: Lycium californicum var. arizonicum