Lycium carolinianum

Species:Lycium carolinianum Walter
Common Name:Christmas Berry; Carolina Matrimony Vine; Carolina Wolf Berry, Carolina Desert-thorn
Associated Ecological Communities:**
Growth Habit:Shrub
Plant Notes:Christmas Berry is a native deciduous shrub in the Nightshade family (Solanaceae). It is native to Mobile County in Alabama. Christmas Berry grows on shell mounds, on shell beaches, and in salt or brackish marshes, often in areas with calcareous soils. It is a woody shrub reaching 9 feet in height. It often suckers from the roots, forming thickets. The bark is smooth and brownish-gray in color. Leaves are alternate, sessile or very short petiolate, narrowly oblanceolate to clavate in outline, glabrous, with entire margins. Short axillary branches are spine tipped. The leaves are thick and succulent. Flowers are solitary in the axils of the leaves. They often appear fascicled on the short branches. The calyx is tubular with 4 lobes and persists on the fruit. The corolla is tubular with 4-5 rotate lobes. The corolla varies in color from purple to blue or white. The fruit is a bright red ellipsoid berry. The berries are edible when ripe and are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A, C and E, and flavonoids. It is eagerly consumed by birds and other wildlife. Christmas Berry is listed as an S1S2 species in Alabama (S1 - typically 5 or fewer occurrences, very few remaining individuals, acres, or miles of stream, or some factor of its biology making it especially vulnerable in the state. S2 - typically 6 to 20 occurrences, few remaining individuals, acres, or miles of stream, or factors demonstrably making it very vulnerable in the state), and globally as a G4 species (imperiled globally because of rarity (6 - 20 occurrences, or few remaining acres, or miles of stream) or very vulnerable to extinction throughout its range because of other factors). Christmas Berry is sometimes available from native plant nurseries. It is salt and drought tolerant. Christmas Berry does well in dry or saturated soils in full to partial sun.—A. Diamond
Taxonomic Notes:**
Status:Native, FACW (NWI), S1S2 (State Rank), G4T3 (Global Rank)
Specimen: View specimen details in the Alabama Herbarium Consortium Specimen Database

** Not applicable or data not available.


FamilySOLANACEAE - Nightshade/Potato family
Genus Lycium
Species Lycium carolinianum Walter - Christmas Berry; Carolina Matrimony Vine; Carolina Wolf Berry, Carolina Desert-thorn


Citation Lycium carolinianum Walter, Fl. Carol. 84. 1788.
Basionym: **
Type: USA: FLORIDA: Duval Co.: Mouth of St. Johns River, 10 Oct 1899, Curtiss 6543 (neotype: GH; isoneotypes: CA, CAS, DS, G, MO, NY, UC, US). Neotypified by D. B. Ward, J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 2: 480. 2008.

** Not applicable or data not available.


SynonymFull CitationBasionymType
Evoista caroliniana Evoista caroliniana (Walter) Rafinesque, Sylva Tellur. 56. 1838.Lycium carolinianum Walter 1788. 
Lycium carolinianum var. normale Lycium carolinianum Walter, var. normale A. Terracciano, Malpighia 4: 518. 1891, nom. inadmiss.Lycium carolinianum Walter 1788. 
Panzeria caroliniana Panzeria caroliniana (Walter) J. F. Gmelin, Syst. Nat. 2: 247. 1791.Lycium carolinianum Walter 1788. 

Specimens and Distribution

This species has been reported in the following counties by the herbaria listed. An overview of the individual specimens are provided in the table that follows. Click on the accession number to view details; click on column headers to sort; choose a county or herbaria to filter the specimen data.

Counties included on distribution map: Mobile

Counties represented by specimen data listed below:

Herbaria represented by specimen data listed below: ALNHS, AUA, TROY, UNA, USAM

Range of years during which specimens were collected: 1965 - 1966

Barcode / Accession No. County Coll. Date Collector &
Collection No.
Herbarium &
Herbarium Name Used
ALNHS00004272 Mobile 25 Aug 2016 Barger, T. Wayne
Lycium carolinianum Walt.
AUA_ACC_37680 Mobile 1 Oct 1981 Henderson, T.
Lycium Carolinianum Walt.
TROY000009233 Mobile 08 Nov 1980 Kral, Robert
Lycium carolinianum Walter
USAM000014723 Mobile 11 Sep 1976 LeLong, Michel G.
Lycium carolinianum Walter
TROY000047549 Mobile 19 Oct 2018 Diamond, Alvin R.
Lycium carolinianum Walter
UNA00038601 Mobile 15 Jul 1965 Deramus, Rebecca
D 604
Lycium carolinianum Walt.
UNA00038602 Mobile 15 Aug 1966 Deramus, Rebecca
Lycium carolinianum Walt.
USAM000014721 Mobile 10 Oct 1992 Cox, J.D.
Lycium carolinianum Walter
ALNHS00001324 Mobile 11 Jul 2012 Barger, T. Wayne
Lycium carolinianum Walt.
USAM000014722 Mobile 23 Nov 1968 LeLong, Michel G.
Lycium carolinianum Walter
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