PLANT: Shrub 0.7-2.5 m tall, rather sparingly branched, with few thorns at the end of branches, or practically unarmed; branches somewhat crooked, decumbent or flexuous, tan to silvery-gray, the older stems often dark reddish brown. LEAVES: glabrous, linear to spatu1ate-obovate, 1.5-6(-15) mm long, 1-2.5(-4.5) mm wide, rounded, sometimes acute or emarginate at the apex, fascicled. FLOWERS: solitary or in groups of 2-3 in the leaf fascicles; pedicels 3-20 mm long; calyx cup-shaped, 1-3 mm long, 3-5-lobed, the lobes deltoid, about one third as long as the tube, equal or unequal, the calyx frequently splitting to the base on one side, with a small tuft of hair at the tip of each lobe; corolla white or pale lavender, obconic-funnelform, constricted immediately above the ovary, 4-9 mm long, the lobes 4-5, 1/6-1/3 the length of the tube, usually reflexed; stamens unequal or subequal, included to longexserted; filaments adnate to a point between 1/3 and nearly 1/2 the length of the corolla-tube, hairy for the first third of their free portion, adjacent corolla-tube hairy, the portion below the insertion of the filaments from almost glabrous to densely hairy; style equaling the stamens in length or surpassing them. FRUITS: globose, 5 mm in diameter, many-seeded (Fig. 2J). NOTES: Sonoran Desert, along washes: La Paz, Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, Yavapai,Yuma cos. (Fig. 1B); 350-900 m (1200-3000 ft); mainly Jul-Sep, but occasionally at other times; s CA to TX, OK; s to Tamps., S.L.P., Hgo., and Baja C. Sur, Mex. REFERENCES: Windham, M.D. And G. Yatskievych. 2009. Vascular Plants of Arizona: Isoëtaceae. CANOTIA 5 (1): 27-29, 2009.
Wiggins 1964, Kearney and Peebles 1969, Chiang 1981, Chiang and Landrum 2009 (VPAP treatment)
Common Name: Berlandier's wolfberry Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Shrub General: Sparsely thorny, sparingly branched shrub, to 2.5 m tall, with a reclining or spreading growth form; branches glabrous to hairy, very gray to reddish, somewhat crooked, flexulous. Leaves: Alternate and fascicled; blades flattened, glabrous, linear to ovate-spatulate, 1-15 mm long by 1-5 mm wide. Flowers: Solitary or in clusters of 2-3 in leaf fascicles, on pedicels 3-20 mm long; calyx cup-shaped, 1-3 mm long, topped with 3-5 deltoid (triangular) lobes about 1/3 as long as the calyx tube, each lobe tipped with small tuft of hair; corolla white to pale lavender, 4-7 mm long, funnel-shaped, constricted immediately above the ovary, and flaring markedly at the top, tipped with 4-5 lobes, these usually reflexed; lower 1/3 to 1/2 of filaments fused to inside of corolla and densely hairy at just above fused portion; stamens usually protruding, rarely enclosed by corolla. Fruits: Nearly spherical berry about 4 mm in diameter, red, fleshy and many seeded. Ecology: Found on alluvial plains and rocky foothills slopes, below 3,000 ft (914 m); flowers mainly July-September, but occasionally other times. Distribution: s CA to TX, OK; south to MEX. Notes: Told apart from Lycium andersonii by the leaves which are flattened in cross section, rather than succulent and terete (rounded) as in L. andersonii; the corolla which is often expanded at the top and also markedly shorter, at 4-7 mm long (7-14 mm long in L. andersonii); the darker bark color is also a good indicator. Several varieties have been recognized in the past but none are mentioned in the recent Vascular Plants of Arizona (VPAP) treatment. This species is found below the Mogollon Rim in AZ, but reaches its northern limit a little north of Phoenix, near the Agua Fria National Monument; there are also scattered locations in New Mexico, where it reaches its northern limit near Socorro. Chiang and Landrum (2009) place the species in s CA, but it is not included in the Jepson Manual. Key characters distinguishing this species are its upland Sonoran desert habitat; flowering mostly during the monsoon season; dark reddish brown twigs; leaves much wider than thick; flowers 4-7 mm long; corollas white to pale lavender with 5 lobes (occasionally 4); and the calyx half as long as the flower and with lobes less than less than 2.5 mm long. Ethnobotany: Unknown; berries are likely edible. Etymology: Lycium is from Greek name Lykion used to describe a thorny tree or shrub; berlandieri is named after Jean Louis Berlandier (1805-1851) Belgian botanist and collector of the type specimen. Synonyms: Lycium parviflorum Editor: SBuckley 2010, AHazelton 2016