Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Zanthoxylum fagara (Lime prickly ash)
Pyle, Lynn

Zanthoxylum fagara

Zanthoxylum fagara (L.) Sarg.

Lime Prickly Ash, Colima

Rutaceae (Rue Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Evergreen shrub or small tree with spreading rounded crown, often with a leaning trunk; aromatic, spiny, with tiny gland-dots on foliage, flowers, and fruit.

The powdered bark and leaves have a sharp taste and have been used also as a spice. The crushed foliage has an odor of limes, as the common names suggest.


From the Image Gallery

3 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Fruit Type: Follicle
Size Notes: Up to about 20 feet tall.
Fruit: Brown

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun


Native Distribution: Central and S. Florida, Florida Keys, and S. Texas; also N. Mexico; to 500' (152 m).
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


Use Ornamental: Aromatic, Fruits ornamental
Use Wildlife: Browse, Nectar-insects, Cover, Nesting site, Fruit-birds
Use Food: The fruit is edible, with a lemon zest taste that first tingles, then numbs in the mouth, like the Chinese culinary ingredient, Szechuan pepper, also a Zanthoxylum species. Dried, ground leaves are sometimes used as a spice and have a similar taste and effect.
Use Medicinal: All visible plant parts have the ability to numb the mouth in high amounts, and in small amounts cause a refreshing tingling, which has led to this Zanthoxylum species being a common ingredient in natural toothpastes and tooth powders, usually identified as Prickly Ash. It is also used to numb mouth pain, with the bark being most commonly employed.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Northern Sicklewing
(Eantis tamenund)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

National Wetland Indicator Status

Status: FACU FAC
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
National Butterfly Center - Mission, TX

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-1060 Collected 2007-07-09 in Cameron County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Zanthoxylum fagara in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Zanthoxylum fagara in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Zanthoxylum fagara


Record Modified: 2022-03-29
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back