PLANT: Shrub 0.5-3 m tall, densely branched, rounded, thorny, glabrous or essentially so in ours; young branches flexuous, silvery-white to tan, the older branches with silvery-tan to dark brown bark. LEAVES: linear-terete, linear-spatulate, spatulate, or obovate, more or less succulent, 3-35 mm long, 1-8 mm wide, sessile or with a petiole 1-3 mm long; apex rounded to acute; base attenuate. FLOWERS: with pedicels 1–10 mm long, borne singly or in pairs in the leaf fascicles, white to pale purple (Fig. 2C); calyx cup-shaped, 1.5–3 mm long, 4–5-lobed or sometimes irregularly 2-tipped, the lobes triangular, about 1/4 the length of the calyx-tube, the margins sparsely ciliate; corolla 4–16 mm long, tubular or very narrowly funnelform, the lobes 4–5, ovate, 1.5–2 mm long, ciliolate, spreading; stamens hardly exserted to exserted 2–3 mm; filaments adnate to lower corolla-tube, their bases glabrous or sparsely hairy; style varying in length, from shorter than to as long as or longer than the stamens. FRUITS: red or orange-red, 3-9 mm long, ovoid or ellipsoid, many-seeded. N = 12. NOTES: Deserts, usually along washes: all cos. Except Apache and Greenlee (Fig. 1A); 250-1700 m (800-5600 ft); mainly Jan-Mar, but occasionally at other times; s CA, NV, UT, w NM; n Mex. A variable species of perhaps four varieties, three of which occur in AZ and intermix: L. a. var. wrightii with 4-lobed flowers 4-8 mm long, L. a. var. andersonii with 4-5-lobed flowers 8-16 mm long and leaves 3-16 mm long, and L. a. var. deserticola with 4-5-lobed flowers 8-16 mm long and leaves 20-35 mm long. REFERENCES: Windham, M.D. And G. Yatskievych. 2009. Vascular Plants of Arizona: Isoëtaceae. CANOTIA 5 (1): 27-29, 2009.
Wiggins 1964, Chiang 1981, Kearney and Peebles 1969, Chiang and Landrum 2009 (VPAP treatment)
Common Name: water jacket Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Shrub General: Thorny rounded, densely branched shrub, 0.5-3 m high; branches rigid and spinose, silvery tan to dark brown; young twigs flexuous, silvery-white to tan. Leaves: Alternate or clustered, sessile or on short petioles 1-3 mm long; blades more or less succulent, linear to linear-spatulate, 3-35 mm long by 1-8 mm wide, rounded to acute at the apex and tapering at the base. Flowers: Solitary or in pairs in the leaf fascicles, on filiform pedicels 3-9 mm long; calyx shallowly campanulate, glabrous to sparsely puberulent, 1-2.5 mm long, irregularly 4-5 toothed, the teeth one-fourth as long as the calyx tube, with sparsely ciliolate margins; corolla white to pale purple, 4-16 mm long, tubular or narrowly funnelform and topped with 4-5 ovate lobes, these 2 mm long, spreading, with ciliolate edges; stamens equaling corolla tube or exserted 2-3 mm; filaments fused to lower one-third of corolla tube, sparsely pilose on lower part of free portion; style about equaling stamens in length. Fruits: Berry ellipsoid to ovoid, bright orange-red, 3-9 mm, juicy, with many seeds. Ecology: Found along arid washes and arroyos, bajadas, rocky slopes, mesas and foothills below 5,500 ft (1676 m); flowers February-May, rarely August-September. Distribution: s and c CA, NV, UT, AZ, NM; south to n MEX. Notes: Distinguished by being a glabrous, thorny erect shrub with light-colored young bark and dark brown older bark (lighter than L. berlandieri); linear-terete, succulent leaves; calyx 1/4 as long as the corolla; corolla >7mm long with hairless lobes, and with hardly-exserted to exserted stamens; and red berries. There are three recognized varieties in the region: var. wrightii with 4-lobed flowers 4-8 mm long and leaves broadly spatulate to obovate; var. andersonii with 4-5 lobed flowers 8-16 mm long and leaves 3-16 mm long, linear-terete to narrowly spatulate; and var. deserticola with 4-5 lobed flowers 8-16 mm long and leaves 20-35 mm long, narrowly spatulate to spatulate. Some taxonomists do not recognize var. deserticola and var. andersonii as distinct. Var. andersonii is the most widespread of the three varieties. If clarity is necessary for the study, take a specimen, preferably with flowers, and make the determination in the herbarium. Similar to L. exsertum in stamens with adnate hairy filament bases, but that species differs in its delicate appearance and non-fleshy leaves. Told apart from L. berlandieri by the lighter colored bark. Characters distinguishing L. andersonii in the key are the corolla length (>7 mm); mostly glabrous corolla lobes; the short calyx only 1/4 as long as the flower; and the fact that the plant is overall mostly glabrous (hairless). In AZ the species in found primarily below the Mogollon Rim, on the Arizona Strip, along the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon and the up the Little Colorado River drainage to the Gray Mountain area. Ethnobotany: Berries were eaten fresh and dried, dried for winter use, boiled into mush or ground into flour, or made into a drink. Etymology: Lycium is from Greek name Lykion used to describe a thorny tree or shrub; andersonii is named after Dr. Charles Lewis Anderson (1827-1910), physician and naturalist, and collector of the type specimen. Synonyms: None, just three varieties. Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015, AHazelton 2016