African box thorn (Lycium ferocissimum) and its vertebrate relationships in Australia

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African boxthorn (Lycium ferocissimum Miers), is a densely-branched, thorny shrub that grows to 5 m. It originates from southern Africa and was introduced to Australia in the early to mid-19th century for use as a hedgerow and windbreak.

It has become one of Australia’s most widespread weeds, being spread primarily by seed. Its fruit are consumed by a range of animal species, and seed remains viable when excreted.

In Australia, bird, mammal and reptile species are recorded as consuming African boxthorn fruit. Many more animal species interact with boxthorn in different ways. The relationships between boxthorn and an array of animal species are diverse.

The success of African boxthorn in invading Australian landscapes is closely related to the species’ interactions with native and non-native fauna. Consideration of African boxthorn biology and its inter-relationships with animal species is an important component of boxthorn management planning.

Cite this article as:

Noble, M. and Adair, R. (2014). African boxthorn (Lycium ferocissimum) and its vertebrate relationships in Australia. Plant Protection Quarterly 29(3), 80-4.


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First published online: October 16, 2014