Lycium europaeum, Lycium intricatum, Lycium mediterraneum,
Boxthorn, European matrimony-vine, European tea tree,
Hebrew: אטד אירופי, Arabic: عوسج

Scientific name:  Lycium europaeum L.
Synonym name:  Lycium intricatum Boiss., Lycium mediterraneum Dunal
Common name:   Boxthorn, European matrimony-vine, European tea tree
Hebrew name:   אטד אירופי
Arabic name:   عوسج, Awsay
Family:  Solanaceae, סולניים

Native plants of Israel

Life form:  Shrub
Spinescence:  Stems
Stems:  2-3 m tall, spreading about 3 m across; young light brown, hairless stems (i.e. glabrous), much-branched, turn grey or brown and fissured as they mature; spines up to 15 cm long on older stems, much smaller spines on newer growth (about 2 cm long); each small side-branch ends in a small spine
Leaves:  Alternate, entire, lanceolate leaves 2 to 5 cm long
Inflorescence:   Flowers solitary or sometimes geminate, on a short stalk, erect and sweet-scented
Flowers:  Pink, greenish-yellow tubular flowers
Fruits / pods:  Berry about 8mm in diameter; a yellow berry once known as "Lot's lemon"
Flowering Period:  June, July, August, September
Habitat:   Mediterranean maquis and forest, Shrub-steppes
Distribution:  Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands, Semi-steppe shrublands, Shrub-steppes, Deserts and extreme deserts
Chorotype:  Mediterranean
Summer shedding:  Perenating

Lycium europaeum, Lycium intricatum, Lycium mediterraneum, Boxthorn, European matrimony-vine, European tea tree,אטד אירופי ,عوسج


Derivation of the botanical name:
Lycium, from Lycia, an ancient country in Asia Minor, and / or from the Greek name Lykion used by Dioscorides and Pliny for some thorny tree or shrub.
europaeum, European.
intricatum, tangled.
mediterraneum, Mediterranean.
  • The standard author abbreviation L. is used to indicate Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778), a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, the father of modern taxonomy.
  • The standard author abbreviation Boiss. is used to indicate Pierre Edmond Boissier (1810 – 1885), a Swiss botanist, explorer and mathematician.
  • The standard author abbreviation Dunal is used to indicate Michel Felix Dunal (1789 – 1856), a French botanist.
Michael Zohary (1898 - 1983), in 'Plants of the Bible', gives reasons that Azekah is a place name in Judea at the foot of the western mountains, named for the abundant boxthorns there, noting that giving plant names to places is common in the Bible; names for acacia, olive, oak, pistachio, pomegranate, and willow often appear as place names.
The name Azeka is from the same source as the Arabic ausseg.
Michael Zohary identifies atâd (Greek, ράμνος) used in Jotham's Parable (Judges 9: 7-21), as Ziziphus spina-christi.
In the Bible we can find Azekah seven times.

Bible resources:
  1. The LORD threw them into confusion before Israel, who defeated them in a great victory at Gibeon. Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah.
    Joshua 10:10
  2. 2. As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the LORD hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.
    Joshua 10:11
  3. Jarmuth, Adullam, Socoh, Azekah,
    Joshua 15:35
  4. [ David and Goliath ] Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Socoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Socoh and Azekah.
    1 Samuel 17:1
  5. Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah,
    2 Chronicles 11:9
  6. Zanoah, Adullam and their villages, in Lachish and its fields, and in Azekah and its settlements. So they were living all the way from Beersheba to the Valley of Hinnom.
    Nehemiah 11:30
  7. while the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and the other cities of Judah that were still holding out—Lachish and Azekah. These were the only fortified cities left in Judah.
    Jeremiah 34:7