Edible uses


The following report is for Z. americanum, it is probably also applicable to this species[K].

Seed - used as a condiment. A pepper substitute[1]. The fruit is rather small, about 4 - 5m in diameter[2], but is produced in dense clusters which makes harvesting easy[K]. Each fruit contains a single seed[2].

There are no edible uses listed for Zanthoxylum clava-herculis.

Material uses

Wood - light, soft, weak and close-grained[3][2]. It weighs 31lb per cubic foot[4]. Too small for commercial use[2].

There are no material uses listed for Zanthoxylum clava-herculis.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

This species is quite widely used in herbal medicine, it has the same properties as Z. americanum, but is said to be more active[5]. All parts of the plant, but especially the bark and roots, contain the aromatic bitter oil xanthoxylin[5]. This has a number of applications in medicine[5]. The fruit has a similar medicinal action to the bark[5]. The bark and roots are irritant, odontalgic and antirheumatic[6]. Along with the fruit they are diaphoretic, stimulant and a useful tonic in debilitated conditions of the stomach and digestive organs[5]. They produce arterial excitement and are of use in the treatment of fevers, ague, poor circulation etc[5]. The fruits are considered more active than the bark, they are also antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic and antirheumatic[5][6][7]. The pulverized root and bark are used to ease the pain of toothache[6][7]. One report says that it is very efficacious, but the sensation of the acrid bark is fully as unpleasant as the toothache[6]. Chewing the bark induces copious salivation[7]. Rubbing the fruit against the skin, especially on the lips or in the mouth, produces a temporary loss of sensation[K]. A tea or tincture of the bark has been used in the treatment of rheumatism, dyspepsia, dysentery, heart and kidney troubles etc[7]. A tea made from the inner bark has been used to treat itchy skin[6].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Stored seed may requires up to 3 months cold stratification, though scarification may also help[8]. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Germination should take place in late spring, though it might take another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings, 3cm long, planted horizontally in pots in a greenhouse. Good percentage[9]. Suckers, removed in late winter and planted into their permanent positions[8].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Zanthoxylum clava-herculis. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Prefers a good deep well-drained moisture retentive soil in full sun or semi-shade[10][11][12]. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c[12]. The leaves are often persistent until the following spring when the new leaves are produced[3]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Flowers are formed on the old wood[13].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Zanthoxylum clava-herculis. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Zanthoxylum clava-herculis.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Zanthoxylum clava-herculis
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    3 x meters
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? 1.01.1 Coon. N. The Dictionary of Useful Plants. Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-090-x (1975-00-00)
    2. ? Elias. T. The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. ISBN 0442238622 (1980-00-00)
    3. ? Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America. Dover Publications Inc. New York. ISBN 0-486-20278-X (1965-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Vines. R.A. Trees of North Texas University of Texas Press. ISBN 0292780206 (1982-00-00)
    5. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    6. ? Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food. Ballantine Books ISBN 0-449-90589-6 (1980-00-00)
    7. ? Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (1987-00-00)
    9. ? Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
    10. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    11. ? Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
    12. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    13. ? Larkcom J. Oriental Vegetables John Murray ISBN 0-7195-4781-4 (1991-00-00)
    14. ? Diggs, Jnr. G.M.; Lipscomb. B. L. & O'Kennon. R. J [Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas] Botanical Research Institute, Texas. (1999-00-00)