The terms goji berry and wolfberry are often used interchangeably. Is there a difference?

Well, sort of. Both names can be used to refer to the fruit of Lycium chinense and Lycium barbarum, two closely related species of boxthorn, in the Solanaceae family. While the two plants are very similar, the fruit of L. barbarum is sweeter, less astringent and higher in betaine, an important nutrient believed to support liver and kidney health. Additionally, the fruit of L. barbarum is meatier in texture, while L. chinense is more fibrous. (Please note that only the mature fruit of either species should be eaten.)

Goji berries growing in the wild

Goji Berries

Most commercially available goji berries are L. barbarum originating from China.

It’s likely that the term goji berry came from an anglicizing of its Chinese name, gǒuqǐ. There are a number of theories about how wolfberry got its name. One holds that the Latin word Lycium was derived from the Greek word “lycos,” which means “wolf.” Others suggest that 18th century Chinese farmers gave it that name after seeing wolves eating the berries from their vines.

Are you ready to discover other berries to plant in your garden? Then explore our shop for a wide selection of seeds and start cultivating your botanical dreams today!