PLANT: Shrub 1-3 m tall, rigidly branching, thorny; young branches silvery gray, scarcely to densely glandular-pubescent; old branches dark brown to black, glabrescent; thorns straight. LEAVES: linear-spatulate to obovate or oblong-lanceolate, 5-30(-35) mm long, 2-5(-12) mm wide, acute to rounded at apex, tapering to a petiole 1-2 mm long or sessile, bright green, glabrous or minutely puberulent, sometimes with white veins, fascicled in groups of 3-6. FLOWERS: pendant, solitary or in pairs at the leaf fascicles (Fig. 2D); pedicels minutely puberulent, 1-7 mm long; calyx campanulate, 4-9 mm long, minutely glandular-puberulent; calyx-lobes 5, as long as the calyx tube or up to 2 times as long as the tube, subulate to linear-lanceolate, acute; corollatube greenish white, 6-12 mm long, glabrous to sparsely puberulent externally; lobes 5, greenish white to pale lilac with dark veins, ovate to oblong, sparsely to densely ciliolate, 2-5 mm long, rotate to reflexed; stamens subequal, barely exserted 2009 VASCULAR PLANTS OF ARIZONA 21 to exserted 2-4 mm; filaments adnate to corolla-tube from base to a little below the middle, pilose from near base of the corolla to 4 mm on free portion, or almost glabrous; style included or 1-4 mm longer than the stamens. FRUITS: constricted below the middle, yellowish to brownish when ripe, 6-10 mm long, notched at the apex; upper part of each locule bearing 1-2 seeds enclosed in an indurated endocarp; lower part fleshy, bearing 1-5 abortive ovules. N = 12. NOTES: Lower Sonoran Desert in AZ, in washes and in flats: La Paz, Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, Yuma cos. (Fig. 1F); 250-750 m ( 800-2500 ft); mainly Feb-Apr, occasionally at other times; Son. Mex. REFERENCES: Windham, M.D. And G. Yatskievych. 2009. Vascular Plants of Arizona: Isoëtaceae. CANOTIA 5 (1): 27-29, 2009.
Chiang and Landrum 2009 (VPAP)
Common Name: desert wolfberry Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Shrub General: Thorny, rigidly branching shrub, 1-3 m tall; young branches silvery gray, scarcely to densely glandular-pubescent; old branches dark brown to black, glabrescent; thorns straight. Leaves: Clustered in fascicles of 3-6 leaves, the fascicles alternate along the stems; sessile to short-petioled, the petioles up to 2 mm long; blades linear-spatulate to obovate or oblong-lanceolate, 5-35 mm long by 2-5(-12) mm wide, acute to rounded at apex and tapering at base, bright green, glabrous or minutely puberulent, sometimes with white veins. Flowers: Solitary or in pairs at the leaf fascicles, pendant on minutely puberulent pedicels 1-7 mm long; calyx bell-shaped, 4-9 mm long, minutely glandular-puberulent and topped with 5 narrow lobes, these 1-2 times as long as the calyx tube; corolla tube greenish white, 6-12 mm long, glabrous to sparsely puberulent externally, and topped with 5 ovate to oblong lobes, these 2-5 mm long, spreading to reflexed, greenish white to pale lilac with dark veins, with ciliolate edges; stamens exserted from corolla tube up to 4 mm; filaments adnate to corolla tube from base to a little below the middle, nearly glabrous or pilose from near base of the corolla to 4 mm up the free portion. Fruits: Berries 6-10 mm long, yellowish to brownish when ripe, constricted below the middle and notched at the apex; upper part of each locule bears 1-2 seeds enclosed in an firm endocarp; lower part of locules fleshy, bearing 1-5 abortive ovules. Ecology: Found in washes and in flats, below 2,500 ft (762 m); flowers mainly Feb-Apr, occasionally at other times. Distribution: sw AZ; nw Sonora, MEX Notes: This Lycium is distinguished in the key by its long calyx lobes, which are at least as long as the calyx tube but can be up to twice as long as the tube; the sparsely pubescent calyx (L. cooperi is moderately pubescent). Also pay attention to the berries, which mature to a dull yellowish brown color and have a distinct notch at the top, dividing berry into 2 sections. Ethnobotany: Not specified for this species, but berries are probably edible. Etymology: Lycium is from Greek name Lykion, used to describe a thorny tree or shrub; macrodon means large-toothed, referring to the calyx lobes. Synonyms: None Editor: AHazelton 2016