Lycium chinense Miller

Lycium chinense Miller




Lycium rhombifolium (Moench) Dip­pel.

Vernacular Names


Kaukichai, kaukichoy, kei-chi.


Chinese boxthorn, Chinese matrimony vine, Chinese wolfberry.


Daun koki.


Kaokichai, kaochi­chai (Bangkok).


C[aa]u kh[owr]i, kh[owr]i t[uwr], c[aa]u k[yr] t[uwr].



Geographical Distributions

Lycium chinense is a native of China and Japan. It is oc­casionally cultivated and locally naturalised in other areas, e.g. in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, In­do-China, southern Asia (Nepal), Southeast Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia), and West, Cen­tral and South Europe.


Lycium chinense 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.

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.

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.

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

The seed is 3-4 mm in diametre.

Ecology / Cultivation

Lycium chinense is well-adapted to a wide range of climatic conditions: 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.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.8: Vegetables.