Zanthoxylum americanum (prickly-ash)

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Key Characteristics

  • Tall, spiney, aromatic shrub or small tree, up to 3 meters tall, sprouting profusely from the roots and forming dense, multistemmed clones, dioecious, moderately shade tolerant, and eaten by giant swallow tail butterflies
  • Bark smooth, gray to brown
  • Leaves alternate, pinnately compound (5-11) with a terminal leaflet, nearly sessile, aromatic when crushed, rachis red and occasionally occasionally prickly, petioles with prickles, leaflets sessile
  • Twigs slender, zigzag, smooth with persistent paired stipular spines below the buds
  • Winter buds small, superposes wooly, rusty red
  • Wood yellow, hard

Sourced from "Michigan Shrubs"


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Many come from Steve Baskauf at Vanderbilt University

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