This tool is part of the Citrus Resource

Citrus ID


American Prickly Ash




Common Prickly Ash, Lime Prickly Ash, Northern Prickly Ash, Toothache (sec. Cottin 2002)

Cultivar or Taxon


Zanthoxylum americanum Mill. (sec. Wunderlin and Hansen 2003; sensu Bayer et al. 2009)



Crown compact or dense or open, not weeping. First year twig surface pubescent; second or third year twig surface striate; thorns straight; prickles absent or not persistent. Petiole pubescent, length medium, wings absent. Leaflets five to seven or greater than seven, margin entire or crenate/crenulate, rachis wings absent, shade leaflet blades flat or weakly conduplicate, sun leaflet blades flat or weakly conduplicate. Leaflets spicy or peppery when crushed. Fruit broader than long or as broad as long or longer than broad, rind black (by misinterpretation) or red or pink, rind texture slightly rough (4-5), firmness papery, navel absent, flesh yellow.



In the Citrus growing regions of the continental United States, Zanthoxylum americanum is only known from Florida. It is not known from Arizona, California, or Texas. The species is considered rare in Florida and in the wild is associated with rocky hammocks in Gadsden, Jackson, and Levy counties (Wunderlin and Hansen 2003). Whereas most species of Zanthoxylum in Florida exhibit flowers in terminal panicles, Z. americanum is one of only two species bearing flowers in reduced axillary clusters. It can be distinguished from the only other species sharing this character (i.e, Z. fagara) by its lack of winged petioles and rachises. Zanthoxylum fagara in contrast exhibits conspicuously winged petioles and rachises (in addition to much blunter leaflet apices). See the genus level fact sheet for keys to Zanthoxylum in the continental United States.



Bayer, R.J., D.J. Mabberley, C. Morton, C.H. Miller, I.K. Sharma, B.E. Pfeil, S. Rich, R. Hitchcock, and S. Sykes. 2009. A molecular phylogeny of the orange subfamily (Rutaceae: Aurantioideae) using nine cpDNA sequences. American Journal of Botany 96: 668–685.

Cottin, R. 2002. Citrus of the World: A citrus directory. Version 2.0. France: SRA INRA-CIRAD.

Wunderlin, R.P. and B.F. Hansen. 2003. Guide to the vascular plants of Florida. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. 787 pp.


Search for this cultivar in NPGS/GRIN1

Search for this cultivar in NCBI2 Entrez or NCBI Nucleotide

1GRIN: Germplasm Resources Information Network; NPGS: National Plant Germplasm System

2NCBI: National Center for Biotechnology Information


Citrus ID Edition 2
October, 2011