Lycium californicum

California Box Thorn

Plant Type: Shrub
Sun: Sun
Drainage: Well-draining
Water: Naturalize, Occasional
Height X Width: 3' X 6'
Santa Clara County Local: No
What do these mean?



California box thorn bush is found in coastal settings from Santa Monica in Los Angeles County south into Baja, Mexico. It also grows on all the Channel Islands. Although from a warmer climate, it has grown well in Santa Clara County, even during the extended wet and cold of the 2022/2023 winter. So far it has been evergreen in that setting. California box thorn grows as a low-growing shrub with silvery branches covered with unusual succulent leaves. The twigs form mildly pointed tips. The small white flowers of spring yield bright red berries. These are likely toxic as with other members of the nightshade family. Plant this unique shrub in full sun and at least moderately well-draining soil.


Deer Resistant: Yes
Attractive to Bees: Yes
Attractive to Butterflies: Yes
Good Under Oaks: No
Evergreen or Deciduous: Evergreen