Lycium horridum is a stiffly branched shrub that reaches 1,5 m in height. It has ashy white to grey stems and fierce, straight spines as is typical of the Lycium genus. There is often a spine at the stem tip.
The species is very widely distributed in southern Africa, particularly in all the South African provinces apart from possibly KwaZulu-Natal.
The plant grows in sandy, karoid lowlands and floodplains among various vegetation types. The species is not considered to be threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010; Shearing and Van Heerden, 2008; iSpot; JSTOR; www.redlist.sanbi.org).