common pricklyash Rutaceae Zanthoxylum
americanum Mill. symbol: ZAAM
Leaf: Alternate, deciduous, pinnately compound, to 8 inches long, 5-11 ovate to lanceolate finely serrate leaflets; shiny green above, light green below; crushed leaves smell like citrus.
Flower: Species is dioecious; in small umbrella-like clusters, individual flowers tiny and yellow-green to orange, with 4-5 petals, fragrant, appearing at the branch tips in early spring.
Fruit: Follicles produced in clusters, 1/4 inch long, individual fruits enclosed in a reddish husk that splits open at maturity to reveal a shiny red-brown to black seed.
Twig: Stout, green changing gray-brown, bearing sharp paired spines, leaf scars shield-shaped, terminal buds rounded and green to brown; flower buds dome-shape and roughened; broken twig smells like citrus.
Bark: Gray-brown and smooth, becoming somewhat furrowed with age.
Form: Usually a suckering shrub, but sometimes a small tree to 25 feet in height.
Looks like: pricklyash - black locust
Additional Range Information: Zanthoxylum americanum is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See the full-size PDF map.
External Links: USDA Plants Database
All material © 2019 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson; Silvics reprinted from Ag Handbook 654; range map source information