Zanthoxylum clava-herculis

Landscape Uses:

Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations.

Ecological Restoration Notes:

Grown by enthusiasts and occasionally by native plant nurseries.
Small to medium tree or large shrub with a rounded, spreading crown. Trunks short to 18 inches in diameter, but usually much less. Bark light gray, roughened by numerous cone-like warts bearing long, sharp brown spines. Leaves temperate deciduous, compound, aromatic, shiny green above, to about 8 inches in length.
Typically 10-20 feet in height in South Florida; to 65 feet in Florida. Often as broad as tall.
Growth Rate:
Southeastern United States west to Texas and south to Miami-Dade and Lee counties. Very rare in Broward County; known only from the area in and around Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. Also rare in Miami-Dade County, where confined to barrier islands and sandy areas north of the Miami River. For a digitized image of Elbert Little's Florida range map, visit the Exploring Florida website. Little's map exagerates the range of this inland in southeastern Florida.
Hammocks and coastal thickets.
Moist, well-drained sandy soils, with humusy top layer.
Nutritional Requirements:
Moderate to low; it prefers soils with organic content, but will still grow reasonably well in nutrient poor soils.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.
Drought Tolerance:
High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Light Requirements:
Full sun to light shade.
Flower Color:
Flower Characteristics:
Inconspicuous. Flowers unisexual.
Flowering Season:
Small subglobose glandular-punctate follicles.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Provides moderate amounts of food and cover for wildlife. Larval host plant for giant swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) butterflies.
Horticultural Notes:
Can be grown from seed removed from the outer coating. Scatter seeds over soil and barely cover.

George D. Gann
Shirley Denton
Shirley Denton
Shirley Denton
Don & Joyce Gann
Jay Horn via iNaturalist.
Jay Horn via iNaturalist.