This old stem of Lycium oxycarpum is pale grey and marked by the nodes of earlier leaf fascicles that have disappeared.
The oblanceolate leaves grow here on small mounds in fascicles of a few erect leaves. The rounded leaf apex and the base that tapers into its short petiole are clear to see. The leaves are hairless with uneven surfaces. The midrib is prominent on the lower leaf surface, slightly recessed above.
A solitary woody spine representing the plant’s defence resources is on duty to discourage browsers; its services only partly effective, allowing both plant and browsers to live.
An Afrikaans common name for the plant, wolwedoring (wolves’ thorn) is interesting, as this land never had wolves apart from some hyena species that roamed here long ago. Hyena do not browse leaves; maybe their teeth and the spines of this shrub had some resemblance in the eyes of the unknown nomenclator, the name giver (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010; Coates Palgrave, 2002).
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