Plants of
South Australia
Lycium australe
Solanaceae
Australian Boxthorn
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Rare
Vulnerable
Endangered
Critically endangered
Extinct
Data deficient
Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
Marree
Mount Gambier
Oodnadatta
Renmark
Wudinna
Keith
Yunta
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 2.

Etymology

Lycium, from the Greek 'lykion', the name of a medicinal thorny shrub believed to be a native of Lycia (Asia Minor). Australe means of or from the south; referring to the distribution of the species in Australia.

Distribution and status

Found across the central part of South Australia, growing in open arid shrublands, mallee and woodland, often in depressions in sub-saline, usually clayey soils. Also found in Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria, Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Intricately branched shrub to 2.5 m high with rigid branches with lateral branches leafy and often ending in a spine. Leaves usually clustered, oblanceolate to ellipsoid, to 25 mm long and 3 mm wide; fleshy, glabrous, grey-green. Inflorescence solitary in axils, with creamy white to lilac flowers. Flowering mostly during spring and summer. Fruits are orange-red ovoid berry to 8 mm long and 5 mm wide. Seeds are flat ovoid to circular dull yellow seed to 2.5 mm long and 2 mm wide. Seed embryo type is linear, fully developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November and February. Collect berries that are ripe, orange-red with soft flesh and numerous hard yellow seeds inside. Place the berries in a bucket of water and rub with your hands to separate the seeds from the flesh. Wash the mixture with clean water and drain. Place the mixture on paper towel and leave to dry overnight. Then rub the dried material by hand to remove any remaining flesh from the seeds. Use a sieve to remove the unwanted material. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place From one collection, the seed viability was high, at 90%.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA 
MSB
7,000 (9.61 g)
7,000 (9.61 g)
100+10-Nov-2005MKJ123
Gairdner-Torrens
9-Aug-200690%-18°C
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.
Germination table:
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