Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Christmasberry
Lycium carolinianum

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lycium (LY-see-um) (Info)
Species: carolinianum (kair-oh-lin-ee-AN-um) (Info)

5 members have or want this plant for trade.


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall
Late Fall/Early Winter
Blooms all year


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By Floridian
Thumbnail #1 of Lycium carolinianum by Floridian

By Floridian
Thumbnail #2 of Lycium carolinianum by Floridian

By Floridian
Thumbnail #3 of Lycium carolinianum by Floridian


1 positive
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive NativePlantFan9 On Mar 9, 2005, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Christmasberry is a shrub or small tree that usually grows up to around 15 or 20 feet high. It is usually around 5 to 12 or 13 feet high.

It is native to coastal habitats, salt marshes, beach dunes, coastal ridges and sandy coastal habitats (including coastal scrubs) in the southeastern United States from South Carolina south through Florida, west along the Gulf coast into Texas (zones 8a to 11). It is also known as Carolina Desert-thorn.

The berries may provide food for wildlife, but have been known to cause vomiting if eated by people.

This is a highly useful plant for coastal situations, as it is very salt-tolerant.

The small flowers are pink to violet or light purple (lavender).

Neutral MotherNature4 On Dec 30, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is an attractive shrub adapted to dry scrub and sandy beach soils. The pretty lavender flowers are followed by bright red berries. Though they are appealing, the fruit should be avoided, especially by children. Vomiting has been reported after consuming it.

Lycium has been used in folk medicine to treat maladies from rheumatism to cancer.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Lutz, Florida
Miami, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Bastrop, Texas

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