Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Lycium macrodon, Desert Wolfberry

Desert Wolfberry has semi-large showy flowers with trumpet-like floral tubes. The flowers vary from lilac to greenish-white. Lycium macrodon Desert Wolfberry has flowers hanging (pendulous) from the main stem, one of several identification characteristics. Lycium macrodon Desert Wolfberry blooms from February to April and throughout the year is there is sufficient rainfall. Lycium macrodonDesert Wolfberry is a shrub that may grow to 9 feet more or less. This species grows at elevations from 800 to 2,500 feet. It is common along washes and on dry slopes. Lycium macrodon

Scientific Name: Lycium macrodon
Common Name: Desert Wolfberry
Also Called: Boxthorn, Wolfberry (Spanish: Frutilla)
Family: Solanaceae, Nightshade or Potato Family
Synonyms: ()
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial
Size: Up to 9 feet more or less.
Growth Form: Shrub; twigs tomentose when young; rigidly branching; spiny; old branches dark brown to black.
Leaves: Green, bright green; mostly glabrous, leaves fascicled in groups of 3 to 6; linear spatulate to obovate or oblong-lanceolate; leaves with short petioles or sessile.
Flower Color: Greenish-white to pale lilac with dark veins; flowers pendulous, solitary; calyx lobes linear, equally to twice as long as the tube; corolla glabrous; fruit constricted below the middle.
Flowering Season: February to April and throughout the year with sufficient moisture
Elevation: 800 to 2,500 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Common along washes and on dry slopes, in desert or semi desert areas.

Recorded Range: Lycium macrodon is rare in the United States where it is found only in Arizona in Maricopa, Pima, Pinal and Yuma counties. This species is also native to northern Mexico.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Lycium macrodon.

U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available. Genus Information: In North America there are 22 species and 38 accepted taxa overall for Lycium. World wide, The Plant List includes 88 accepted species names and includes a further 42 infraspecific rank for the genus.

In the Southwestern United States, Arizona there are 11 species of Lycium, in California there are 12 species, Nevada and Texas each have 7 species, New Mexico and Utah each have 5 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

Comments: Lycium macrodon has a larger, trumpet-shaped floral tube than most other Wolf Berries.

In Southwest Desert Flora also see Arizona Desert-thorn, Lycium exsertum and Fremont's Thornbush, Lycium fremontii.

Date Profile Completed: 09/07/2016, updated format 10/04/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 09/05/2016)
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 09/05/2016).
Chiang, Fernando, Landrum, Leslie R., Lycium, Wolf Berry, Desert Thorn. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science and Canotia
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names, recorded geographic locations and general information 09/07/2016).