What plant is that?

Click on photo below to view larger image

Chinese Matrimony VineChinese Matrimony Vine--stalk Chinese Matrimony Vine -- flowerChinese Matrimony Vine -- fruit
Photo credits: © Francis R. Underwood 2021
Top right and bottom row: AnRo0002, CC0,
via Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

The mystery plant for November, 2021 is a deciduous shrub that grows to three to six feet tall and has small purple to lavender flowers.  While this shrub is not native to the U.S., it is fairly commonly found in many states. It is native to east Asia.  I first found this plant growing in East Providence along the Seekonk River several years ago. I have never seen it growing any place but there. The flowers of this shrub are funnel shaped, the leaves are alternate, entire and are 2-4 inches long The stems of this shrub are brown and thornless.  Some of the leaves are alternate but others grow in clusters from the axils of older primary leaves. The corolla lobes are slightly longer than the corolla tube of the flower. The corolla is lavender and has 5 lobes and 5 stamens. This plant blooms from summer into autumn. The flowers form red berries about 1/2" in length. Tobacco Hornworm sometimes feeds on these shrubs.
The red berries are said to be edible with a licorice flavor and can be used to make herbal tea. The genus name of this plant comes from a thorny tree which grows in the southwest area of Asia.

It’s. . .

Botanical Name:

Lycium chinense

Common Name:
  Chinese Matrimony Vine
  Solanaceae (Nightshade family)
  Disturbed, moist or coastal areas