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Zanthoxylum americanum/Hercules' Club, Toothache Tree

Zanthoxylum americanum / Zanthoxylum americanum
Summer foliage showing the long pointed leaves
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Summer foliage showing the long pointed leaves

Typical trunk with spine-tipped knots

Trunk of a young tree showing the developing knots and sharp spines

Older tree with numerous growths on the trunk

Foliage and twigs also have thorns

Typical old tree trunk showing sharp thorns on tips of growths on trunk

Close-up image of summer foliage showing the compound leaves

Tree trunk and branches

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Scientific Name: Zanthoxylum americanum
Common Name: Hercules' Club, Toothache Tree
Plant Type: Deciduous
Leaf Type: Broadleaf
Hardiness Zone: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Determine Your Zone
Height: 15-20 feet
Spread: 10 - 15 feet
Bloom time: Spring
Flower color: Green, Yellow
Fruit color: Red, Brown
Light Exposure: Sun
Drainage: Well drained, Moist
Rate of Growth: Moderate
Water Requirement: Medium
Maintenance Level: Low
Susceptible to insects
and diseases:
Landscape Categories: Bark, Trunk, and Branch Features
Comments: This native deciduous tree has an interesting trunk where pointed growths occur on the trunk and large branches. Prickles or short thorns are present on the back of the compound leaves that resemble the foliage of ash trees. Autumn color can be quite striking on the toothache tree. Swallowtail butterflies are attracted to the foliage where they lay their eggs.