Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
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Electronic Flora of South Australia species Fact Sheet

Family: Solanaceae
Lycium australe

Citation: F. Muell., Fragm. Phyl. Aust. 1:83 (1859).

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: Australian boxthorn.

Intricately branched shrub 0.5-1.5, rarely to 2.5 m high; ultimate lateral branchlets leafy, usually ending in a spine and up to 5 cm long; initial single leaves early deciduous; subsequent leaves in clusters of 5-10, thick and fleshy, narrowly obovoid to ellipsoid, slightly compressed, flat when dry, 3-25 x 1.5-3 (rarely to 5) mm, grey-green.

Pedicel 2-5, rarely to 10 mm; corolla 8-12 mm long, creamy-white to pale-lilac with darker markings in the throat and tinged brownish-purple outside; lobes 2-3 x 1.5-3 mm; stamens included or scarcely exserted.

fruiting calyx not deeply split; berry ovoid to ellipsoid, orange-red, 4-8 x 2.5-5 mm; seeds 1.5-2 x 1-1.5 mm, dull-yellow.

image of FSA3_Lycium_aus.jpg Flowering branch.
Image source: fig. 566A in Jessop J.P. & Toelken H.R. (Ed.) 1986. Flora of South Australia (4th edn).

Published illustration: Cunningham et al. (1982) Plants of western New South Wales, p. 587.

Distribution:  In open arid shrublands, often in depressions in subsaline, usually clayey soils, sometimes in dense colonies; also in arid mallee and woodland.

S.Aust.: NW, LE, NU, GT, FR, EA, EP, NL, MU, YP, SL.   W.Aust.; N.S.W.; Vic.

Conservation status: native

Flowering time: throughout the year but mainly spring and early summer.

SA Distribution Map based
on current data relating to
specimens held in the
State Herbarium of South Australia

Biology: The ripe berries are edible, and the seeds are probably distributed by birds.

Taxonomic notes: Sometimes confused with Nitraria billardierei (Zygophyllaceae), Scaevola spinescens (Goodeniaceae) or Lawrencia squamata (Malvaceae).

Author: Not yet available

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