Where Commonly Found: Bluffs, uplands, rocky hillsides, open woods, and moist ravines, CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, RI, VT.
How to Identify:
(For unfamiliar words: Wikipedia Glossary of Botanical Terms).
Go Botany Key for Zanthoxylum americanum.
Missouri Botanical Garden’s description of Zanthoxylum americanum. Click on more images.
Flower Color: Yellowish Green, inconspicuous.
Flower Type: Dioecious. Axillary clusters (cymes). Male and Female flowers on separate trees, appearing on old wood. Female flowers
Flower Time: Spring
Leaf Type: Compound, odd-pinnate, dark green leaves, up to 12″ long, with 5 – 11 leaflets each. Stems and leaves have sharp, 1/2″ long prickles. Leaves, flowers, stems and fruit all emit a lemony scent.
Height: 8′- 20′
Seed Collection: Female flowers produce clusters of rounded, reddish-brown, berry-like fruit, maturing in late summer with 1-2 shiny black seeds per fruit.
Attracts: Bees, butterflies
Use: Naturalizing into thickets.
Light: Full Sun to Part Shade
Hardiness Zone: 3 – 7 USDA Zone Map
Notes: Zanthoxylum americanum (Toothache Tree), another common name is prickly ash, as it looks much like an ash tree with prickles, growing in thickets. Can be used as a naturalizing hedge. Chewing on the bark or fruit produces a numbing effect, hence the common name.
Native to almost all of the continental US east of the Rockies, but RARE in NH and much of mid-Altantic and southeastern US: Biota of North America Program (BONAP) – North American Plant Atlas (NAPA).
Requested by Edgewood Nursery