Goji – Wolfberry – Lycium Barbarum

Goji – Wolfberry – Lycium Barbarum

Goji, goji berry, or wolfberry (pinyin: gǒuqǐ) is the fruit of either the Lycium barbarum or Lycium chinense, two closely related species of boxthorn in the nightshade family, Solanaceae. The family also includes the potato, tomato, eggplant, belladonna, chili pepper, and tobacco. The two species are native to southeastern Europe and Asia

Lycium barbarum (simplified Chinese: 宁夏枸杞; traditional Chinese: 寧夏枸杞; pinyin: Níngxià gǒuqǐ) is also known as Chinese wolfberry, Chinese boxthornHimalayan goji,  Tibetan goji, mede berry, barbary matrimony vineDuke of Argyll’s tea treeDuke of Argyll’s tea plant, Murali (in India),red medlar or matrimony vine.

Lycium, the genus name, is derived from the ancient southern Anatolian region of Lycia (Λυκία).[6] The fruit is known in Traditional Chinese medicine references as Fructus Lycii, which is Latin for “Lycium fruit”.

In the English-speaking world, the name “goji berry” has been used since the early 21st century.[citation needed] The word “goji” is an approximation of the pronunciation of gǒuqǐ (枸杞), the name for the berry producing plant in several Chinese dialects, including Hokkien and Shanghainese. This name possibly derives from the same roots as the Persian language term gojeh (گوجه) which means “plum/berry”.

Other common names are “the Duke of Argyll’s Tea Tree”[3] and “matrimony vine”.[3]

In Tibetan the plant is called dretsherma (འདྲི་ཚིར་མ། Tibetwolfberryspelling.png), with dre meaning “ghost” and tsherma meaning “thorn”.[citation needed]

L. barbarum is a deciduous woody perennial plant, growing 1–3 m high. It is grown in North China, primarily in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

Leaves and flowers

L. barbarum leaves form on the shoot either in an alternating arrangement or in bundles of up to three, each having a shape that is either lanceolate (shaped like a spearhead longer than it is wide) or ovate (egg-like). Leaf dimensions are 7-cm in length by 3.5-cm broad with blunted or round tips.

The flowers grow in groups of one to three in the leaf axils. The calyx (eventually ruptured by the growing berry) consists of bell-shaped or tubular sepals forming short, triangular lobes. The corolla are lavender or light purple, 9–14 mm wide with five or six lobes shorter than the tube. The stamens are structured with filaments longer than the anthers. The anthers are longitudinally dehiscent. Plants are self-pollinating, but may be cross pollinated by insects. In the northern hemisphere, flowering occurs from June through September and berry maturation from June to October, depending on the latitude, altitude, and climate. where frost does not occur fruiting is continuous and plants do not lose their leaves.

Fruit 

L. barbarum produces a bright orange-red, ellipsoid berry 1–2-cm deep. The number of seeds in each berry varies widely based on cultivar and fruit size, containing anywhere between 10–60 tiny yellow seeds that are compressed with a curved embryo. The berries ripen from July to October in the northern hemisphere.


Date Planted

Planted as a 2 year (?) plant in late fall 2016 in Brugge, BE


Purchase Info

Fall 2016 around Brugge Belgium.


Progress

Planted fall 2016 with first berries appearing after.

April 2017 f lowers.

June 20 2018 seeing few first flowers

 


Diseases and Problems

 


Cultivation

When ripe, the oblong, red berries are tender and must be picked carefully or shaken from the vine into trays to avoid spoiling. The fruits are preserved by drying them in full sun on open trays or by mechanical dehydration employing a progressively increasing series of heat exposure over 48 hours.


Uses

Culinary

As a food, dried wolfberries are traditionally cooked before consumption. Dried wolfberries are often added to rice congee and almond jelly, as well as used in Chinese tonic soups, in combination with chicken or pork, vegetables, and other herbs such as wild yam, Astragalus membranaceus, Codonopsis pilosula, and licorice root. The berries are also boiled as a herbal tea, often along with chrysanthemum flowers and/or red jujubes, or with tea, and packaged teas are also available.

Various wines containing wolfberries (called gǒuqí jiǔ from 枸杞酒) are also produced, including some that are a blend of grape wine and wolfberries.

Young wolfberry shoots and leaves are also harvested commercially as a leaf vegetable.

Medical research

Lycium chinense is used in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of nightsweats, pneumonia, cough, hematemesis, inflammation, and diabetes mellitus.

Safety issues

In vitro testing has revealed that the tea inhibited warfarin metabolism, providing evidence for possible interaction between warfarin and undefined wolfberry phytochemicals.

Potentially harmful interactions may occur if wolfberry is consumed while taking other medications, such as those metabolised by the cytochrome P450 liver enzymes.Such drugs include warfarin, or drugs for diabetes or hypertension.