Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Zanthoxylum hirsutum

Texas Hercules' club, Texas prickly ash, Limetone prickly ash, Toothache tree, Tickle-tongue, Tingle-tongue

Rutaceae (Rue Family)

Zanthoxylum hirsutum (Texas hercules' club)
Lytle, Melody
A prickly shrub, sometimes a small tree. Crushed leaves have an odor suggestive of orange peel. Found in open areas and at the edges of woodlands. Branches with prickles resembling those of a rosebush. Leaves with paired glossy leaflets along an axis bearing small prickles. Leaflets up to 1 1/2 inches long, the margins with glands in the notches between the rounded teeth. Flowers small, greenish, in clusters at the ends of branchlets. Fruit spherical, 1/4 inch in diameter, reddish brown when ripe.

Image Gallery:

15 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Flower: Flowers in 2 inch clusters
Size Class: 6-12 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr


Native Habitat: Chaparral & brush country

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Caliche type, Limestone-based, Calcareous.


Use Ornamental: Fall conspicuous, Aromatic, Shortgrass meadow
Use Wildlife: Fruit-birds.
Use Food: Fruit edible, with a lemon zest taste that first tingles, then numbs in the mouth, similar to the Szechuan peppers used in Chinese cuisine. Szechuan peppers are also from a Zanthoxylum species. The leaves have a similar but less intense taste and effect.
Use Medicinal: Bark, leaves, and fruit all numb the mouth and have been used to treat mouth pain, including toothache, hence its common name, Toothache Tree.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Giant swallowtail butterfly.

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Zanthoxylum hirsutum is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Giant Swallowtail
(Papilio cresphontes)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Last Update: 2016-03-21