Not the plant you're looking for? Search over 300,000 plants
ShrubsFruit Edible

Lycium barbarum

Duke of Argyll's tea tree

A scrambling, deciduous shrub to 3m tall, with sparsely spiny stems bearing narrow, dull green leaves and small, dull purple flowers in late spring and summer. These are followed by edible, orange-red berries often known as goji berries. Image credit: Shutterstock

Other common names
Barbary box thorn
Barbary wolfberry
see moreChinese box thorn
common matrimony vine
Tibetan goji berry
vicar's tea party
European box thorn
Synonyms
Lycium europaeum misapplied
Lycium halimifolium

Join the RHS

Become an RHS Member today and save 25% on your first year

Join now
Buy this plant
Size
Ultimate height
2.5–4 metres
Time to ultimate height
5–10 years
Ultimate spread
2.5–4 metres
Growing conditions
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Neutral, Alkaline
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Purple Green
Summer Purple Green
Autumn Green Orange Red
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

West–facing or South–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H5
Botanical details
Family
Solanaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy
Genus

Lycium can be deciduous or evergreen shrubs, sometimes scrambling, with simple entire leaves and small funnel-shaped flowers followed by red berries

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Europe to China

How to grow

Cultivation

Plant in free-draining soil enriched with well-rotted manure or garden compost and, ideally, train against a wall or fence for maximum fruiting. Tolerates light shade but fruits best in full sun. For more information see Goji berry cultivation for further advice

Propagation

Propagate by seed indoors in spring. Take hardwood cuttings in winter or softwood cuttings in early summer. Layer plants in autumn or lift and replant suckers in late winter

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Coastal
  • Hedging and screens
  • Banks and slopes
  • Edible fruit
  • Climber and wall shrubs
  • Wall side borders
Pruning

If grown for fruit, prune lightly in early spring removing some of the oldest wood and shortening overlong shoots back to a lower branch. Can be cut back hard to rejuvenate if necessary. Pruning group 1 for ornamental use. Cut hedges back hard in spring or trim in early summer

Pests

May be susceptible to aphids and fruit may require netting to prevent birds from consuming them

Diseases

May be susceptible to powdery mildews

My Garden

Your free RHS gardening coach

Keep track of your plants with reminders & care tips – all to help you grow successfully

My plants
My calendar

My plants

My calendar

My ideas
Manage membership

My ideas

My advice

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.