Herb: Pale Wolfberry

Latin name: Lycium pallidum

Family: Solanaceae (Nightshade Family, Potato Family)

Medicinal use of Pale Wolfberry:

The ground up root has been placed in a tooth cavity to bring relief from toothache. The bark and the dried berries have been used as a "life medicine". The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids and other bio-active compounds. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers.

Description of the plant:


180 cm
(6 feet)

May to

Habitat of the herb:

Dry plains and hills.

Edible parts of Pale Wolfberry:

Fruit - raw, cooked or dried for later use. The fruit keeps well when dried and ground into a meal. The fruit should be perfectly ripe if it is eaten raw. The Hopi Indians boiled the fruit, drained off the water and ground the fruit into a mush. Clay was then mixed with water until a thick consistency was achieved, this was mixed with the berries and the whole lot eaten. The fruit is about 10mm in diameter.

Other uses of the herb:

Plants have an extensive root system and can be planted to stabilize banks.

Propagation of Pale Wolfberry:

Seed - sow early spring in a greenhouse. Germination is usually good and fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Pinch out the shoot tips of the young plants in order to encourage bushy growth. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel if possible, July/August in individual pots in a frame. Good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, autumn to late winter in a cold frame. High percentage. Division of suckers in late winter. Very easy, the suckers can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. Layering.

Cultivation of the herb:

Dry plains and hills.

Known hazards of Lycium pallidum:

Although no records of toxicity have been seen for this species, it does belong to a family that contains many poisonous plants. Some caution should be applied, especially towards leaves or unripe fruits, though ripe fruits are almost certainly edible.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.