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African Boxthorn Factsheet

27th Jun 2019

African boxthorn (Lycium ferocissimum)

African boxthorn is a very thorny scrub that grows up to 5 m high and 3 m across. Grown close together it forms a spiky wall that you cannot get through.

How does this weed affect you?

African boxthorn is an aggressive invader of pastures, roadsides, reserves, remnant bushland and waterways. It forms an impenetrable, spiny thicket that inhibits the movement of stock and provides a haven for feral animals. Many insects, including fruit fly, the common house fly and the tomato fly, breed in the fruit of this weed.

It is a serious weed threat in all States and is one of the major weed threats to the semi-arid rangelands of western NSW.

How does it spread?

African boxthorn plants are at least two years old when they flower, and although this generally occurs in spring and early summer it may occur at any time of the year provided the conditions are right. Fruit set generally occurs in autumn, but, again, it can occur at any time of the year depending on conditions. Seeds can germinate at any time of the year if there is adequate moisture and warmth.

The plant has an extensive, deep, branched taproot that will sucker and produce new growth if broken. Early root growth is rapid to allow seedlings to compete with other plants.


The effective, long-term control of African boxthorn generally requires the integration of a number of techniques, including mechanical removal, cultivation, herbicide application, replacement with appropriate plants and regular monitoring. For invasive woody weeds such as African boxthorn, control is more effective and economical if done when the plants are young.

Information from Department of Primary Industries.
Read more on the DPI Website

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