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A genus of about one hundred species of loose-habited shrubs allied to the deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna), with usually spiny branches. Leaves alternate, often in clusters. Flowers from one to four in the leaf-axils, their parts usually in fives; corolla funnel-shaped or tubular. Fruit a berry, very ornamental.
The lyciums or box thorns are easily cultivated; they do not need a rich soil, flowering and fruiting better in a well-drained one of moderate quality. L. afrum needs a wall, but the others here described are perfectly hardy. They are best propagated by seeds when these are obtainable, but cuttings and layers may also be used.