Natives For Your Neighborhood is a labor of love and commitment. If you use this website, help us maintain and grow it with your tax-deductible donation.


Please scroll to the bottom for more images.
Christmasberry, Carolina desertthorn
Lycium carolinianum

Copyright by: George D. Gann

General Landscape Uses: Accent shrub in low coastal areas.

Availability: Native plant nurseries. Available in Homestead at Plant Creations Inc. (305-248-8147).

Description: Medium shrub with open, usually somewhat spiny branches. Leaves succulent, dull green, small.

Dimensions: About 6-8 feet in height; rarely to 10 feet. About as broad as tall, but with a very open structure.

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Range: Southeastern United States west to Texas and south to the Monroe County Keys; Cuba and Mexico.

Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

Habitats: Coastal berms; margins of mangrove swamps.

Soils: Periodically innundated to moist, moderately well-drained to poorly-drained brackish soils, with humusy top layer.

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.

Salt Water Tolerance: Moderate; tolerates brackish water or occasional inundation by salt water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.

Drought Tolerance: Moderate; generally requires moist soils, but tolerant of short periods of drought once established.

Light Requirements: Full sun to light shade.

Flower Color: Lavender to lilac or rarely white.

Flower Characteristics: Semi-showy, 3/8" wide.

Flowering Season: All year; peak summer-fall.

Fruit: Bright red succulent berry. Winter.

Wildlife and Ecology: Provides significant food and cover for wildlife. Nectar plant for great southern white (Ascia monuste), gulf fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) and other butterflies as well as sphinx moths.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from de-pulped seed and cuttings.

Comments: The bright red fruits are very showy.

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: Steven W. Woodmansee

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Susan Trammell

Copyright by: Kristen Finch
In cultivation, Palm Beach County, FL, 2013

Copyright by: Kristen Finch
In cultivation, Palm Beach County, FL, 2013

Copyright by: Kristen Finch
In cultivation, Palm Beach County, FL, 2013

Copyright by: Susan Trammell

Other data on Lycium carolinianum available from:

Resources Links:
Find Native Plants!

Acknowledgements and past sponsors
Become a sponsor!

Emergent Sponsors:

Canopy Sponsors:
Herbaceous Sponsors: