Lycium chinense Mill.

Last updated: 29 June 2015

Scientific Name

Lycium chinense Mill.


Boberella rhombifolia (Moench)E.H.L.Krause., Jasminoides rhombifolium Moench., Lycium ovatum Poir., Lycium rhombifolium (Moench) Dippel., Lycium sinense Gren., Lycium trewianum Roem. & Schult. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Kaukichai, kaukichoy, kei-chi [2]
English Chinese boxthorn, Chinese matrimony vine, Chinese wolfberry [2], bow thorn, matrimony vine, wolf berry [4]
Chinese Kou k’l tsz, ki-chi [3], di gu pi, ti ku pi, gou qi zi, kou chi, go qi zi, tien tsai [4]
Indonesia Daun koki [2]
Thailand Kaokichai, kaochi­chai (Bangkok) [2]
Vietnam C[aa]u kh[owr]I, kh[owr]i t[uwr], c[aa]u k[yr] t[uwr] [2], cau ky, cu khoi, phac khau khi [4]
France Lyciet [2]
Japan Kuko, kuku [4].

Geographical Distributions

Lycium chinense is a native of China and Japan. It is oc­casionally cultivated and locally naturalised in other areas such as in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, In­dochina, Southern Asia (Nepal), Southeast Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia), and West, Cen­tral and South Europe. [2]

Botanical Description

Lycium chinense is a member of the Solanaceae family. It is a deciduous shrub that can grow up to 1-2 m tall, with recurved or pendent branches and is usually provided with a few straight spines. [2]

The leaves are distichous, bright green and with a short petiole. The leaf blade is lance-shaped to ovate, measuring 1-14 cm x 0.5-6 cm and usually widest below the middle. The lower ones are largest and with entire margin. [2]

The flowers are solitary or in few-flowered racemes and erect. The sepal is 3 mm long bell-shaped and 5-toothed. The petal is fun­nel-shaped, 5-lobed, and measures 10-15 mm long. The tube is narrow­ly cylindrical at the base with 1.5 mm while the lobes are 5-8 mm long. They are red-purple with yellowish throat. There are 5 stamens which are long-exserted. The filaments have dense tuft of hairs at the base. The ovary is 2-locular while the stigma is 2-lobed. [2]

The fruit is an ellipsoid berry, measuring about 1 cm x 0.5-0.75 cm, red and many-seeded. [2]

The seed is 3-4 mm in diametre. [2]


L. chinense is well-adapted to a wide range of climatic conditions where the annual rainfall may be as low as 300 mm but can be over 2000 mm as well, and the temperature range is large. It grows from sea level up to 2000 m altitude in the tropics. At low altitudes, the plant flowers profuse­ly but in highlands (above 2000 m) it does not flower. It needs sunny location and tolerates poor soils (sand and rocky soils). The pH range is 5-8. [2]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

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  1. The Plant List. Ver 1.1. Lycium chinense Mill. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013. [updated 2012 March 26; cited 2015 June 29] Available from:
  2. Lycium chinense Mill. In: Siemonsma JS, Piluek K, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia no 8: Vegetables. Wagenigen, Netherlands: Pudoc; 1993.
  3. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute of Medical Research. Compendium of Medicinal Plants Used in Malaysia: Volume 2. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR; 2002. p 109.
  4. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms and etymology; Volume III E-L. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2012. pp 841-842.