It's time to read and vote for your favorite article in the 2013 Write-Off Contest! The four finalist's articles are featured in the May 13 newsletter and can be found through this link. Hurry! Voting ends May 18.
Height: 4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m) 6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m) 8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m) 10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m) 12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
Spacing: 4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m) 6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
Hardiness: USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F) USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F) USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F) USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F) USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F) USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F) USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F) USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F) USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F) USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)
Sun Exposure: Full Sun Sun to Partial Shade
Danger: Seed is poisonous if ingested Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling
Bloom Color: Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)
Bloom Time: Mid Spring
Foliage: Deciduous Aromatic
Other details: Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Soil pH requirements: 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral) 7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
On Jul 27, 2012, Farkleberry from Austin, TX wrote:
Had no idea what this was last fall when i first spotted it. In February it was about 10" tall and as thick as a pencil when I mowed it down to 4". Now in July, 5 monthes, it is nearly 5' tall. Very fast grower. Chewing the leaves do indeed make the mouth go numb, has a citris flavor that is not very pleasent. Many thorns on the branches and leaves, but those on the trunk mostly fell off leaving only scars. I like the tree but unfortunantnly it is growing just inches from the roof drain and must be moved. I'm waiting for the leaves to fall. It may be 8' tall by then. Then i will dig it up and transplant it on the back property line.
On May 22, 2010, eatmyplants from Comanche county, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
I think the name Hercules' Club is unsuitable for this tree because not one tree I've seen, young or old, had thorns on the trunks, which are smooth and splotched with white. There are at least two other plants with the name Hercules' Club also. By the way, if you ever decide to taste one of the fruits from this tree, you better have some water handy. It's very overpowering. Tastes much like lemon or lime, but has a very strong, long-lasting aftertaste. And no, the fruit did not numb my mouth. Neither did the leaves, so it is indeed the bark that has the numbing effect. And possibly the roots if you cared to dig.
On Jul 30, 2009, LindaTX8 from NE Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
This species of Zanthoxylum is found in Texas and is smaller than Zanthoxylum clava-hercules and has many thorns along the leaves and twigs. The leaves can be numbing, more or less depending on the time of year. It is a host plant for the Giant Swallowtail. It is not easy to propagate from seed.
On Jul 27, 2009, NordicFletch from Stanchfield, MN wrote:
ssustaire and sticher7... No worries on transplanting prickly ash, or losing one to a storm. They propagate by two methods: seed and (apparently) rhizome-type roots. I have prickly ash in my "yard" (40 acres of "woods" and "wetlands"), and they keep invading the areas where I mow...as well as keep coming back where I cut and rip them out (I try to keep them separate from my sumacs, and have had to dig out the horizontal "rhizomes" from my vegetable garden). They are nearly impossible to eradicate once they have taken hold....and they can spread very fast! The only reasons I allow these trees to grow at all is for the natural "security fence" (the thorns, of course) and the medicinal properties of the bark and RIPE berries (not the seeds, they are toxic!!!). The only tree I know of which is more frustratingly invasive is buckthorn..............
Wingnut, don't chew the leaves -- chew the bark. I haven't found any historical references showing that the leaves were ever used. There must be a good reason for that....
Sadly, the storm that came thru Collin County, TX on 6/10 wiped out our 'numb gum tree' which was here before we built 29 years ago. It was covered with pea size green balls. I saved a bunch, there's still more attached to the remains in the field behind us. There's still 6-8 ft of trunk standing, which now that I've done some research, I'll watch to see if any babies come up from the base. I'm hoping that maybe I can start some from the seed balls. Hate to see an old native get wiped out, it was a pretty tree.
On May 9, 2008, broncbuster from Waxahachie, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
I have one of these beautiful trees on my property and I love it! Fire ants have made their home in it's trunk and they are doing major damage. It's an old tree and for the 3 years I've lived here, every summer green japanese beetles and butterflies swarm this tree as it secreets sap. It will be sad to see it go.
On Mar 31, 2005, ssustaire from Ore City, TX wrote:
I found this odd tree growing in the woods behind our home. I have been told that it is ok by the owner if I transplant one to my own property. Where it is there are about 10-15 growing, all diferent ages. The older ones have more smooth bark, as if the spikes kind of grow off, or into slight bumps. Any thoughts on transplanting one? I think it has such aesthetic beauty and a strange grace & dignity about it.
I live in Bell County, about 4 miles west of Belton on Sparta Road. I have a large "tickle tongue" tree growing just inside my property line. I've told my brother and a friend and they thought I dreamed up the term "tickle tongue tree". Thanks
On Jun 1, 2002, Aimee from Georgetown, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
The leaves are a nice glossy green, and if you bruise them or cut with your fingernail, you will be rewarded with a nice smell. But if you chance to stick yourself with one of the prickles, it will cause a painful reaction for months. The Prickly Ash makes an attractive shrub and does not appear to be bothered by pests.
On May 30, 2002, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
If you chew the leaves of this tree your tongue and lips will be numbed slightly, hence the names "Tickle Tongue Tree" and "Toothache Tree". Native Americans used this tree for that very purpose ~ numbing a toothache.
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Morrilton, Arkansas Oakhaven, Arkansas Bartow, Florida Paradise Heights, Florida Bridgewater, Massachusetts Anna, Texas Austin, Texas (3 reports) Briarcliff, Texas Cleburne, Texas Dalworthington Gardens, Texas De Leon, Texas Fort Worth, Texas Garden Ridge, Texas Grey Forest, Texas Irving, Texas Lake Brownwood, Texas Lampasas, Texas Moody, Texas Ore City, Texas Roman Forest, Texas Rowlett, Texas Waxahachie, Texas Mazomanie, Wisconsin