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Fremont Thorn Bush

Lycium fremontii

Fremont Thornbush foliage and flowers photo by mike plagens.

This plant was found growing on the floodplain of the Salt River, Phoenix, Arizona 26 Jan. 2008. The image is hosted in full resolution at Wikimedia.

Fremont Thornbush, Lycium fremontii Pen & Ink Illustration © by Michael Plagens

RANGE: Grows especially in deep sandy or silty soil that is damp and a bit saline. In the Sonoran Desert look for it along the major rivers and also near the coast in Sonora, Mexico.

FLOWERS: Light to darker purple/lavender. Tubular flowers with usu. five points are larger than most of the other Sonoran Desert Lyciums. The flowers are very attractive to both bees and hummingbirds.

SHRUB: A robust woody shrub occasionally up to 3 meters tall. Intricately branched and densely leafy if there has been recent precipitation.

ARMED. This shrub has thorns, but they are not particularly sharp.

LEAVES: Leaves are spatulate (spoon-shaped) and rather thick and fleshy. The leaves often appear fascicled.

FRUIT: Bright red juicy berries with a number of seeds are edible and sweet.

Plant Bug on Lycium © by Mike Plagens Honey Bee Potato Psyllid Anna's Hummingbird

Many insects can be found on L. fremontii especially in the spring when flowers attract honeybees and the developing buds and leaves many sucking insects like psyllids. Hummingbirds visit when flowering.

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Solanaceae -- Nightshade Family

More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2014