Wolfberry

Scientific Name: Lycium berlandieri
Abundance: uncommon
What: fruit
How: raw, cooked
Where: sunny, coastal areas, deserts
When: winter, spring
Nutritional Value: Vitamins A, C, E, flavanoids, and essential fatty acids

Woodberry with ripe berries.
Wolfberry
Picture curtesy of Colleen M. Simpson - Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve & Learning Center

Close-up of berries and leaves.
Wolfberry
Picture curtesy of Colleen M. Simpson - Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve & Learning Center

Wolfberry
Picture curtesy of Colleen M. Simpson - Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve & Learning Center

Texas distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture. The marked counties are guidelines only. Plants may appear in other counties, especially if used in landscaping.
WolfberryMap_TX

North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.
WolfberryMap_NA

As you cross the dry, sandy, alkaline soils of south and west Texas and southern coastal areas you make see a gray-colored bush covered in thick, elongated oval leaves. Depending on the time of year, the bush may be covered in long, tubular, white-yellowish-green-ish flowers or if you are lucky, marble-sized, red fruit. It's bark is smooth and gray though lighter than the green-gray of its leaves. You've found a Wolfberry bush and that means you have some great, super-nutritious food!

The berries ripen in mid-winter to early spring. They have a tangy taste as they are related to tomatoes...and so are in the nightshade family. Related to the fad-food Gogi berries, this Texas plant has all the same high vitamin content as well as other beneficial chemical compounds. Usually the berries are dried/dehydrated then nibbled as a healthy snack. They can be added to muffins, and breads. People also use them in smoothies! of course, you can also make infused vodka out of them for a nutritional martini. The Recent studies have shown they might help stroke victims.

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