Southern Prickly Ash (Zanthoxylum Clava Herculis / Hercules' Club) Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners
Zanthoxylum Clava Herculis is a small deciduous tree or large shrub native to the coastal plains of South-eastern parts of the USA.
Despite being a Citrus, this plant is often referred to as the Southern Prickly Ash. This is because it somewhat looks like a prickly version of the Southern Ash tree. It is perhaps more commonly known by gardeners as Hercules' Club.
The roots and bark are rich in the aromatic oil xanthoxylin. Tinctures made from the bark have traditionally been used to support rheumatism, itchy skin, and cardiac issues.
The genus Zanthoxylum gets its name from the Greek words for yellow (xanthos) and wood (xylon). While the remainder of the species name – Zanthoxylum – refers to the club-shaped nature of the plant and to the Greek hero Hercules, who swinged a club-shaped weapon.
Growing Zone : USA: 7 to 9. UK H6 (Hardy to -20°C (-4°F)
Life Cycle / Plant Type: Tree, shrub
Plant Height: 15 to 50 feet (4.5 to 15 m)
Plant Spread (Inches): 15 to 30 feet (4.5 to 9 m)
Time of Bloom: Late spring and Early Summer
Flower Details: Yellow, white
Leaf Foliage: Green. Leathery. Pinnate. 8 to 12 inches in length (20 to 30 cm).
Fruit: Capsule. Two valves. Small Black seeds.
Growth Form: Rounded
Ideal Growing Conditions
Best Light Conditions: Partial shady to full sunlight
Rate of Growth: Medium paced.
Suitable Soil Types: Deep, Sandy, Well drained.
Soil Moisture: Moist
Level of Maintenance: Low to Medium.
Sowing and Propagation: SeedStratify seed for three months. Or sow fresh seed indoors in the autumn. Germinates in the next or the following spring. Transfer seedlings to a cold frame in individual pots. Transplant to final location in early summer.
Propagate Semi-ripe cuttings in summer (cold-frame). Roots: Greenhouse. Cut roots to 1 1/4 inch (3 cm) lengths. lay in pots in a horizontal position.
Can Attract: Butterflies, Beetles
Tolerant of: Poor soil
Best Garden Use: Hedge, Border, En masse, Butterfly gardens. Attracts birds and deer.
Miscellaneous: North American Native, Attracts butterflies, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms. Genus also known as Xanthoxylum. Referred to as the toothache tree and Tickle toungue because of the numbing sensation caused through chewing their leaves, which was used in times past to alleviate toothaches.