Lycium ruthencium murr seeds, Black Goji, russian Boxthorn
Lycium ruthencium belongs to the category of the boxthorns within the family of the Solanaceae, the nightshades. It is also called black Goji because it is directly related to Lycium chinense & barbarum the common Goji berry.
The plant is native to China and Central Asia. In those areas it grows up to an altitude of 4000 m above sea level, for example in the Himalaya. In addition it occurs in parts of Russia. That is why it is called Russian boxthorn. In former times Lycium ruthenicium was a favored ornamental plant in many gardens. But nowadays it vanished and was replaced by Lycium chinese.
Black Goji grows as a shrub and reaches a height of about 2 m. The branches are full of thrones that get 1,5 long. Those thorns protect the Russian boxthorn from herbivory.
The leaves of the Lycium ruthenicum are light gray to greenish. They are very small, getting only 3 cm long an 1,5 mm wide. The leaves are fleshy. They stand in little clusters at the branch. The leave succulence is an adaption to the hot and dry environmental conditions in its natural habitat.
The flowers of L. ruthencium are lilac and funnel- shaped. They get about 1 cm long.
The fruits of the Russian boxthorn are first green and get purple to black when they are ripening. They are almost round and reach 9 mm in diameter. The ripe fruits can be eaten raw or cooked. They are rich in Vitamine A, C and E and include in addition some essential fatty acids. All in all black Goji contains more vitamins than its relative Lycium chinese. In the pulp there are the small, brown and kidney shaped seeds.
In former times the natives used the plant to treat blind camels and make them see again.
There are several studies concerning the substances of L. ruthencium. Amongst other things it can decrease the cholesterol level, stop the process of altering and prevent cancer.
Cultivation from seeds
Lycium ruthencium is very resistant against drought. In its natural habitat it grows in saline deserts and other very dry places. When the seeds of the Russian boxthorn are threatened with a solution of NaCl, germination occurs to higher rates. A study found out that a NaCl solution with a concentration of 0,3 or 0,4 % works best. At a temperature of about 20°C and constantly moist substrate the germination occur quickly. L. ruthencium is winter hardy.
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