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Plant type

Shrub

Size

9 ft Tall

Color

Purple, Lavender, White

Flowering season

Spring

Lycium andersonii is a species of flowering shrub in the nightshade family, Solanaceae. Its common names include water-jacket, redberry desert-thorn, Anderson thornbush, Anderson's desert thorn, Anderson boxthorn, Anderson lycium, Anderson wolfberry, and squawberry.

It is native to the Southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, where it is distributed in New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Baja California, Sinaloa, and Sonora. It grows in many habitat types and plant communities, including pinyon-juniper woodland, creosote bush scrub, sagebrush scrub, chaparral, and coastal sage scrub.

It grows up to about 2.7 metres (8 ft 10 in) in maximum height, with a large fibrous root system that can extend over 9 metres (30 ft) from the base of the plant. The shrub is rounded in shape with many branches covered in many thin spines up to 2 centimetres (0.79 in) long. The flat leaves are thick and fleshy, measuring up to 1.7 centimetres (0.67 in) long. They are shed from the plant in dry conditions. The flowers have funnel-shaped white or purple-tinged corollas up to a centimeter long. The fruit is a red or orange berry less than a centimeter long. One of the main traits of this shrub is a pattern of rotating spike-branches that grow along the main branching stems. The individual spikes get larger and end up as rotating intersecting branches. It's form is dense and thicket-like, often impenetrable even by birds. Berries are produced sometimes in great profusion, sometimes only in external branches, and sometimes not at all. The berries are typically very bitter.

Lycium andersonii typically grows in sandy, gravelly washes and on slopes and mesas. It tolerates some soil salinity and alkaline soils such as caliche. It thrives in hot, dry climates. It is rarely dominant in the local flora. Common associates include creosote bush (Larrea tridentata), yellow palo verde (Parkinsonia microphylla), white bursage, (Ambrosia dumosa), smoke tree (Psorothamnus spinosus), Nevada ephedra (Ephedra nevadensis), hop sage (Grayia spinosa), pale wolfberry (Lycium pallidum), blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima), singlewhorl burrobrush (Hymenoclea monogyra), and Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia).

Sun

Full Sun

Water

Low, Very Low

Ease of care

Moderate

Soil drainage

Fast

Soil description

Prefers sandy or decomposed granite soil.

Propagation

For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Caterpillars
Pollinators

Butterflies and moths supported

0 confirmed and 3 likely

Confirmed Likely

Loxostege albiceralis

Five-spotted Hawkmoth|Tomato Hornworm

Manduca quinquemaculata

Carolina Sphinx|Tomatoe Sphinx|Tobacco Hornworm

Manduca sexta

Site type

Gravelly or rocky slopes, washes

Plant communities

Chaparral, Coastal Sage Scrub, Creosote Bush Scrub, Pinyon-Juniper Woodland, Sagebrush Scrub,