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Toothache Tree Zanthoxylum clava-herculis

Phonetic Spelling
zan-THOK-sil-um KLAV-uh HER-kew-lis
Description

'Hercules Club' is an aromatic tree with a rounded crown. Native to the coastal plain of North Carolina, it can be found growing in the light sandy soils of maritime forests, dunes, riverbanks, and island bluffs. 

All parts have a numbing effect when chewed, hence the common name 'Toothache Tree'.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#small tree#full sun tolerant#heat tolerant#perennials#shrub#wildlife plants#native tree#moths#green flowers#yellow flowers#native shrub#spring flowers#security plant#flowering tree#moist soil#food source wildlife#NC native#well-drained soil#flowering shrub#small and large mammals#native garden#prickly#screening#Braham Arboretum#larval host plant#fruits summer#food source summer#food source herbage#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#sandy soils tolerant#loamy soils tolerant#fruits#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#moth larvae#food source mid-summer#host#host plant#audubon#coastal plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#small tree#full sun tolerant#heat tolerant#perennials#shrub#wildlife plants#native tree#moths#green flowers#yellow flowers#native shrub#spring flowers#security plant#flowering tree#moist soil#food source wildlife#NC native#well-drained soil#flowering shrub#small and large mammals#native garden#prickly#screening#Braham Arboretum#larval host plant#fruits summer#food source summer#food source herbage#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#sandy soils tolerant#loamy soils tolerant#fruits#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#moth larvae#food source mid-summer#host#host plant#audubon#coastal plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Zanthoxylum
    Species:
    clava-herculis
    Family:
    Rutaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Native Americans and early settlers reportedly chewed the bark and leaves of this tree as a toothache remedy (oils produce a tingling/numbing sensation in the mouth).
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    U.S.A.
    Distribution:
    Coastal plains of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico from southern Virginia to mid-Florida west to Texas
    Wildlife Value:
    Larval host plant of Giant Swallowtail butterflies (Papilio cresphontes), birds and small mammals enjoy the seeds. Attract butterflies.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Dimensions:
    Height: 30 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 12 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Rounded
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Appendage:
    Prickles
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Follicle
    Fruit Description:
    Follicles produced in clusters, individual fruits enclosed in a brown husk that splits open at maturity to reveal a shiny red-brown to black seed. In North Carolina, the fruits are available from July to September.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    Dioecious and tiny flowers that appear in early-spring. In North Carolina, the flowers are available from April to May.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    7-9 narrowly elliptical to lanceolate leaflets with round-pointed teeth & glabrous. Crushed leaves have a pungent odor.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Large spine-tipped corky-pyramidal projections, losing spines with age, stout green twigs changing from green to brown-green at maturity
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems are spiny. Twigs and leaf stems have thorns and trunk has large (up to 1") prickles.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Security
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Dry Soil
    Heat