This species has sometimes been regarded as a form of Lycium europaeum, and the distinction between Lycium europaeum and Lycium shawii needs further study[
Lycium abeliaeflorum Rchb.
Lycium afrum auct.
Lycium albiflorum Dammer
Lycium arabicum Schweinf. ex Boiss.
Lycium barbarum Mill.
Lycium mediterraneum leptophyllum Dunal
Lycium mediterraneum cinnamomeum Dunal
Lycium mediterraneum leucocladum Dunal
Lycium orientale Miers
Lycium ovinum Dammer
Lycium persicum Miers
Lycium persicum cinereum Bornm.
Lycium persicum leptophyllum (Dunal) Bornm.
Lycium somalense Dammer
Photograph by: Eitan f
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Lycium shawii is an erect, spreading, sometimes scandent, intricately branched, very spiny shrub growing 1 - 3 metres tall, exceptionally becoming a small tree up to 4.5 metres tall[
]. The spines are usually 5 - 10mm long, occasionally to 15mm[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine. It is also grown as a hedge.
Although providing many well-known foods for people, including the potato, tomato, pepper and aubergine, most plants in the family Solanaceae also contain poisonous alkaloids. Unless there are specific entries with information on edible uses, it would be unwise to ingest any part of this plant[
E. Mediterranean; Africa - Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana, S. Africa; through Arabia, Iran to India.
Dry to relatively moist areas such as hilly country to the edge of floodplains; riverbanks and dambos; mixed woodland and wooded grassland; extending into miombo mainly on termitaria; cultivated areas and along roadsides; 910 - 1463 metres[
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Grows wild on soils varying from clayey, loamy to halophytic[
The plant forms thick clumps and is reputed to harbour snakes and rats[
Fruit - raw[
]. The globose, red fruit is 3 - 5mm in diameter[
Leaves - cooked and eaten as a vegetable[
]. A salty flavour[
]. The leaves are chopped and cooked alone or with other vegetables such as Bidens pilosa or Cleome gynandra and the served with a staple such as ugali or rice[
This species is much used in traditional medicine in Africa[
The roots are boiled and the decoction used to treat coughs and sores in the mouth[
The root decoction is applied externally to relieve backache and to wash polio patients[
An infusion of the leaves and roots is drunk to induce vomiting in the case of tapeworm infection[
The leaves are used in the treatment of constipation and stomach-ache[
The plant can be used as a hedge[
The branches are used for fencing[
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