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Zanthoxylum_americanum - Mill.

Common Name Prickly Ash - Northern, Common pricklyash, Northern Prickly Ash
Family Rutaceae
USDA hardiness 3-7
Known Hazards Tannins may reduce gut iron absorption. Possble nervous system stimulation. Excessive ingestion may interfere with anticoagulant therapy [301].
Habitats Found on upland rocky hillsides and on moist low-lying sites, in open woods, on bluffs or in thickets[229].
Range Eastern N. America - Quebec to Florida, west to Minnesota and Oklahoma.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Zanthoxylum_americanum Prickly Ash - Northern, Common pricklyash, Northern Prickly Ash


commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Cillas
Zanthoxylum_americanum Prickly Ash - Northern, Common pricklyash, Northern Prickly Ash

 

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Summary

Main Bloom Color: Green, Yellow. Form: Rounded, Vase.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Zanthoxylum_americanum is a deciduous Shrub growing to 4 m (13ft) by 4 m (13ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). . The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Thylax fraxineum. Zanthoxylum fraxineum. Zanthoxylum fraxinifolium. Zanthoxylum mite.

Habitats

Edible Uses

Seed - cooked. It is used as a condiment. A pepper substitute[106]. The fruit is rather small, about 4 - 5m in diameter[229], but is produced in dense clusters which makes harvesting easy[K]. Each fruit contains a single seed[229].

Medicinal Uses

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Prickly ash is a warming, stimulating herb that is beneficial for the circulation. It was highly regarded by the native North American Indians who used it especially to alleviate rheumatism and toothache[254]. All parts of the plant, but especially the bark and roots, contain the aromatic bitter oil xanthoxylin[229]. This has a number of applications in medicine, especially in the treatment of arthritic and rheumatic conditions, digestive problems and leg ulcers[229, 254]. The fruit has a similar medicinal action to the bark[4]. The bark and roots are irritant, odontalgic and antirheumatic[213]. Along with the fruit they are diaphoretic, stimulant and a useful tonic in debilitated conditions of the stomach and digestive organs[4]. They produce arterial excitement and are of use in the treatment of fevers, ague, poor circulation etc[4]. The fruits are considered more active than the bark, they are also antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic and antirheumatic[4, 213, 222]. The pulverized root and bark are used to ease the pain of toothache[213, 222]. One report says that it is very efficacious, but the sensation of the acrid bark is fully as unpleasant as the toothache[213]. Chewing the bark induces copious salivation[222]. Rubbing the fruit against the skin, especially on the lips or in the mouth, produces a numbing effect[K]. A tea or tincture of the bark has been used in the treatment of rheumatism, dyspepsia, dysentery, heart and kidney troubles etc[222]. A tea made from the inner bark has been used to treat itchy skin[213, 257].

Other Uses

The fruits have been used by young men as a perfume[257]. Wood - soft. It weighs 35lb per cubic foot[235]. Of little use[229].

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Massing. Prefers a good deep well-drained moisture retentive soil in full sun or semi-shade[1, 11, 200]. A relatively fast-growing plant in the wild, it often forms thickets by means of root suckers[229]. All parts of the plant are fragrant. The bruised foliage has a delicious resinous orange-like perfume[245]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Flowers are formed on the old wood[206]. Special Features:North American native, Attracts butterflies, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms, Blooms appear periodically throughout the year.

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Propagation

Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Stored seed may requires up to 3 months cold stratification, though scarification may also help[113]. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Germination should take place in late spring, though it might take another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings, 3cm long, planted horizontally in pots in a greenhouse. Good percentage[78]. Suckers, removed in late winter and planted into their permanent positions[113].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Zanthoxylum americanumPrickly Ash - Northern, Common pricklyash, Northern Prickly Ash23

 

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Expert comment

Author

Mill.

Botanical References

1143200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Klaus Dichtel   Thu May 22 20:31:52 2003

A gardener I visited last month guessed his bearing zanthoxylum doesn´t have a male pollinator and this, too, is confirmed by a "Joachim" in a forum at www.planten.de who says in 'The Plant-Book'/D.J.Mabberley zanthoxylum isn´t doecious and neither are normaly all the members of the rutaceae.

Here the hardiness is rated with 3. In "agroforesty news"/October´92 it is rated with 4.

kelly baker   Sat Oct 18 2008

Its worth trying a berry in Sept, Oct. Spit the seed out. It makes you toungue and mouth tingle in a pleasant way. A colleague says 'The ultimate mint!' It has a cleansing quality and refreshes the palate.

   Thu Jun 4 2009

i go hunting squarrel ... and pick them up and cook it with it

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