Family: Solanaceae (Potato family).
Native of South Africa.
Occurrence: Widely scattered, from the mallee to the coast.
African Boxthorn is a noxious weed and listed as Regionally Controlled in central Victoria.
It is generally not very common on the central goldfields. African Boxthorn has sometimes been used as a hedge plant.
Similar species: The native Tree Violet (Melicytus dentatus) has narrower, longer leaves, and small yellow tube-shaped flowers. It is less spiny, and the branches are often covered with lichen.
The native Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa) has white flowers in summer, and small heart-shaped fruit that dry to a brown or black.
The introduced Chinese Boxthorn (*Lycium barbarum) has thin leaves, is less spiny (and sometimes spineless), and has shorter, leafless branches.
Photo 1: Boxthorn in flower. The side branchlets are very spiny. Hall St, Castlemaine.
2: Boxthorn colonising disturbed ground. Long Forest.
3: Boxthorn beside Kow Swamp.
4: Dead African Boxthorn. The intricate branching and spines help identify this plant. Terrick Terrick National Park.
5: In fruit. Third Lake, Kerang.