Black Goji Berry
Black Goji Berry

Black Goji Berry

Regular price $4.25 Sale

Lycium ruthenicum

Origin: China

Improvement status: Unknown

Seeds per packet: ~50

Germination tested 11/2023: 60%

Life cycle: Perennial

Black goji is the super-nutritious, arid-land-loving cousin of the more famous red goji (or wolfberry), boasting even higher phenolics & antioxidant capicity than its popular fellow-nightshade cousin. A thorny perennial with succulent leaves, it is well-adapted to its high-altitude, low-rainfall native range, including Tibet, Xinjiang, China, India, Russia, and central Asia. It's also sometimes called Russian box thorn, siyah goji, black fruit wolfberry, and kaokee. The Chinese name is hei guo gou qi. 

The fully-ripe fresh, dried, or cooked fruits of black goji are used in food and beverages (including a lovely blue-colored tea). They are rich in vitamins A, C, and E, along with various flavanoids, essential fatty acids, and other bioactive compounds. According to Plants for a Future, it's being "investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers." It's also reportedly used for diabetes and kidney problems. In at least one part of Kashmir, the berries are made into an ointment to treat blindness in camels!

Our seed was imported from China by the good folks at Sheffield's Seed Company in Locke, NY.

GROWING TIPS: Very easy to start from seed. Soak in water for 12 hours (if it's convenient — in our experience this is not required), then surface sow if you can reliably keep your growing medium moist, or sow 1/4" deep. Plant in the driest part of your garden or farm, in full sun. If weed pressure will be an issue, it might be wise to keep the plants in pots for their first year. Expect a 3-5 ft shrub with an extensive root system. Plants are self-pollinating.

Photo credit: Yuriy75, downloaded under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (first photo only; second is by Nate Kleinman, at a Korean grocery store in Greensboro, NC).