(Lycium ferocissimum)

Total Control Pest

Boxthorn is a densely-branched, erect, woody, evergreen perennial that grows up to 6 metres high. The leaves are green, narrow and oblong. The flowers are white or pale mauve, followed by 10 millimetre wide orange-red berries. The plant has been used for hedges and shelter in coastal areas, as it tolerates salt-spray and trimming. The orange-red berries are produced freely and distributed by birds but can be poisonous. It has strong spines at the tips of the branches.

Reasons for the Strategy

Short green leaves and red berries of Boxthorn.

Boxthorn invades sand dunes and coastal environments and can exclude all other species. It forms dense, thorny barriers and harbours vermin. Leaves are suspected to be poisonous, and the extremely sharp, stiff and numerous spines can injure stock and people. Boxthorn provides a threat to extensively managed land and waste spaces, especially where rainfall is light. It is capable of invading both production land and indigenous shrubland.

Boxthorn is assessed at “1” on the infestation curve. The low incidence of Boxthorn in the Tasman-Nelson region, extensive areas of suitable habitat, and the potential for it to cause significant adverse effects, mean the benefits of total control far outweigh the costs.


To contribute to the eradication of Boxthorn by ensuring that the remaining sites in the Tasman-Nelson region are inspected annually and all live plants are destroyed during the term of the Strategy.

Alternative Measures

The alternative option of “do nothing” or relying on voluntary control will not achieve the objective of eradication, and will result in significant additional costs to the community with respect to lost production and the increased cost of control in the future. However, the only remaining known infestation of Boxthorn will take some time to eradicate, as it is providing shelter in an exposed coastal situation and fulfilling a soil conservation role.

Strategy Rule for Boxthorn

The occupier shall destroy all adult and juvenile forms of Boxthorn on land that they occupy. A breach of Strategy Rule 4.3.5 is an offence under Section 154(r) of the Biosecurity Act 1993.

Biosecurity Act Requirement

No person shall knowingly sell, propagate, breed, release, or commercially display Boxthorn, under Sections 52 and 53 of the Act.