Information on Duke of Argyll's Teaplant

Common Name: Duke of Argyll's Teaplant
Scientific Name: Lycium babarum
Irish Name: Lus an mhangaire
Family Group: Solanaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Duke of Argyll's Teaplant is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


This is a deciduous, suckering shrub that grows to about 3 metres tall, has arching, grey, spiny stems and would seem to be found mainly in the south-east of Ireland with scattered records of its existence in a small area of Co Kerry. It has untoothed, lanceolate leaves which are widest at their middle, grey-green and alternate and it bears extremely attractive flowers in the leaf axils. These begin their blooming as purple flowers but then they fade through a rose colour to brown and then beige. The flowers have 5 lobes, occasionally 6, with dark, unbranched veins running through the purple lobes into the white centre of each flower. Creamy stamens protrude from the centre with large cream anthers. It flowers from May through to September. The fruit of this species is an oval, red berry. It is not a native species but was introduced into these islands from China. It belongs to the Nightshade or Solanaceae family.  

I saw this species at Duncannon, County Waterford in 2018 after being told about it by Paul Green, BSBI Vice-county Recorder for Wexford and Waterford.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Teaplant, Duke of Argyll's
Teaplant, Duke of Argyll's

The common name of this species is as a result of the enthusiasm of a 18th century Duke of Argyll for exotic species. The plant is also known as Wolfberry.