Ahead of the NSW state election on 25 March 2023, the NSW Government caretaker period has commenced. Limited updates will be made to this website during this period.

African boxthorn

This Weed Risk Management Assessment uses a series of questions to arrive at scores for weed risk and feasibility of coordinated control for this weed, and displays the necessary management actions derived from these scores.

This information is then used to make decisions about the introduction, prioritisation and declaration of this weed in New South Wales.

Weed (Scientific name) Lycium ferocissimum
Weed (Scientific name)African boxthorn
Region All of NSW
Management area All Local Control Authorities
Landuse 2.1 Grazing natural vegetation 
Assumptions African boxthorn. Solanaceae. Medium density in landuse. Standard weed management is limited and may involve some site-specific treatments.
Weed Risk
Invasiveness Score       Total Answers Source and comments
Q1. What is the ability of the weed to establish amongst existing plants? 2 Seedlings establish within open vegetation or weeds Weeds of the Riverina pg. 8
Q2. What is the weed's tolerance to average weed management practices in the land use? 1 Between 5 and 50% of weeds survive Weeds of the Riverina pg. 8
Q3. What is the reproductive ability of the weed in the land use? 2   Parsons and Cuthbertson (2001), Blood (2001), P. Bosse pers. obs. 
(a) Time to seeding 1 >1-3 yrs
(b) Annual seed production 2 High
(c) Vegetative reproduction 1 Infrequent
Q4. How likely is long-distance dispersal (>100m) by natural means? 2   Parsons and Cuthbertson (2001)
(a) Flying animals 2 Common
(b) Other wild animals 2 Common
(c) Water 0 Unlikely
(d) Wind 0 Unlikely
Q5. How likely is long-distance dispersal (>100 m) by human means? 1   Parsons and Cuthbertson (2001)
(a) Deliberate spread by people 0 Unlikely
(b) Accidentally by people and vehicles 1 Occasional
(c) Contaminated produce 1 Occasional
(d) Domestic/farm animals 0 Unlikely
Total 5.3  
Impacts Score        Total   
Q1. Does the weed reduce the establishment of desired plants? ? Do not know Q1 and 2 - unclear from the references
Q3 Coutts-Smith and Downey (2006) - at least 5 EEC's affected.
Q4 and 5 Parsons and Cuthbertson (2001). 
Q2. Does the weed reduce the yield or amount of desired vegetation? ? Do not know
Q3. Does the weed reduce the quality of products, diversity or services available from the land use? 2 Medium
Q4. What is the weed's potential to restrict the physical movement of people, animals, vehicles, machinery and/or water? 3 High
Q5. What is the weed's potential to negatively affect the health of animals and/or people? 1 Low
Q6. Does the weed have major positive or negative effects on environmental health? 0   a. Parsons and Cuthbertson (2001). b.-f. no mention in references examined. 
(a) food/shelter -1 Major positive effect
(b) fire regime 0 Minor or no effect
(c) altered nutrient levels 0 Minor or no effect
(d) soil salinity 0 Minor or no effect
(e) soil stability 0 Minor or no effect
(f) soil water table 0 Minor or no effect
Total 5  
Potential distribution    
Q1. Within the geographic area being considered, what is the percentage area of land use that is suitable for the weed?  8 60-80% of land use BGT (2012)
Comparative weed risk score 213   
Weed risk category Very high   
Feasibility of coordinated control
Control costs Score         Total   
Q1. How detectable is the weed?  2   Parsons and Cuthbertson (2001) and BGT (2012)
(a) Distinguishing features 1 sometimes distinct
(b) Period of year shoot growth visible 1 4-8 months
(c) Height at maturity 0 > 2 m
(d) Pre-reproductive height in relation to other vegetation 2 below canopy
Q2. What is the general accessibility of known infestations at the optimum time of treatment? 0 high J. Crocker pers. comm.
Q3. How expensive is management of the weed in the first year of targeted control? 3   Based on information in Parsons and Cuthbertson (2001). A. could be medium?
(a) Chemical costs/ha 1 low (< $100/ha)
(b) Labour costs/ha 3 high ($250-$500/ha)
(c) Equipment costs 1 low
Q4. What is the likely level of participation from landholders/volunteers within the land use at risk? 0 high Pers. obs. 
Total 4.2   
Persistence Score        Total   
Q1. How effective are targeted management treatments applied to infestations of the weed? 2 medium Weeds of the Riverina pg.8
Q2. What is the minimum time period for reproduction of sexual or vegetative propagules? 0 >2 years Q2 and 4 Parsons and Cuthbertson (2001)
Q3 Information in Parsons and Cuthbertson (2001) suggests checking for several years after control to ensure seedlings and regrowth are controlled.
Q3. What is the maximum longevity of sexual or vegetative propagules? 1 2-5 years
Q4. How likely are new propagules to continue to arrive at control sites, or to start new infestations? 2  
(a) Long-distance (>100m) dispersal by natural means 2 frequent
(b) Long-distance (>100m) dispersal by human means  1 occasional
Total 4.5   
Current distribution    
Q1. What percentage area of the land use in the geographical area is currently infested by the weed? 1 5-10% of land use estimate based on pers. obs.
Q2. What is the number of infestations, and weed distribution within the geographic area being considered?  1 scattered estimate based on pers. obs.
Total 1.7   
Comparative feasibility of coordinated control score 32
Feasibility of coordinated control category Medium
Management priority category Contain spread
Calculation of overall uncertainty score 5%
Positive impacts African boxthorn can provide some positive impacts such as providing habitat  and forage values for small birds and other native animals. Has been used and recommended for hedges in the past and can be an effective windbreak.
References/Other comments
Blood, K. (2001). Environmental Weeds - A Field guide for SE Australia (C.H. Jerram, Science Publishers, Mt Waverly, Victoria). pp. 66-7
Botanic Gardens Trust (2012). PlantNET - The Plant Information Network System of Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia. http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Lycium~ferocissimum (accessed 5 June 2012).
Coutts-Smith, A. and Downey, P. (2006). Impact of weeds on threatened biodiveristy in New South Wales. (CRC for Weed Management, Adelaide).  100 pp.
Parsons, W.T. and Cuthbertson, E.G. (2001). Noxious weeds of Australia, 2nd edition. (CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood). pg. 601-3.
Weeds of the Riverina Booklet;

Based on a WRM assessment done for the Riverina by Paula Bosse in 2009.

Amended for all of NSW by Dr Stephen Johnson, Weed Ecologist, Orange 5 June 2012.