Black Goji Berry (Lycium ruthenicum)

Black Goji Berry (Lycium ruthenicum)

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For the horticultural road less traveled, you can take a swing at growing Black Goji Berry, or Lycium ruthenicum. Originally discovered in the higher inner Himalayas, Lycium ruthenicum holds a storied past as an ancient medicinal fruit, which is still cultivated for its benefits in traditional medicine practices. It makes a strong case for its potential healing powers, as a plant that thrives in dry climates, with a good hardiness against cold conditions.

As Lycium ruthenicum matures, its growth pattern will emerge with copious branches stemming from the original plant, flowering in the spring, and fruiting in the late summer. It fruits with purple-black berries to be eaten raw, cooked, or dried into teas and tisanes. 

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How to Grow Goji Berry Plants

Plant Type: Short-life Perennial Fruiting Shrub. Evergreen or Deciduous.

Harvest Season: Summer - Fall

Mature Size: 3-6 ft.

Soil & Moisture: Rich, moist, well-draining soil. Mature plants have good drought tolerance but irrigation may increase yields.

Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade

Zone Hardiness: 3-10 adaptable to mediterranean, subtropical, tropical, temperate climates.

256 or Bust

Li Ching-Yuen was a Chinese herbalist who sold goji berries, among other natural medicines. At the time of his death in 1933, his birth records showed that he was born in 1677, which would make him 256 years old. He even received birthday wishes from the Chinese government on his 150th and 200th birthdays. Skeptics believe Li Ching-Yuen might have assumed the identity of an older ancestor with the same name.

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