Common Prickly Ash, Northern Prickly Ash
Zanthoxylum americanum

Family: Rutaceae (roo-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Zanthoxylum (zan-THOK-sil-um) (Info)
Species: americanum (a-mer-ih-KAY-num) (Info)

Category:

Herbs

Shrubs

Trees

Height:

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

Spacing:

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

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)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Inconspicuous/none

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Foliage:

Grown for foliage

Deciduous

Other details:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Clermont, Kentucky

Georgetown, Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Detroit, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Ney, Ohio

Berwyn, Pennsylvania

Greencastle, Pennsylvania

Elmwood, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

2
positives
0
neutrals
0
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

On Mar 14, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Here in the Twin Cities Northern Prickly Ash tend to be locally common, often located in floodplain and in certain swampy locations. They are easily identify by their thorns as in Minnesota thorny woody plants are rare - only wild roses are the other species but greenbriar - the thorny species - grows in the same habitation as Prickly Ash. During the growing season they can be difficult to id as they look like young ash species in their foliage.

Positive

On Apr 19, 2006, Hikaro_Takayama from Fayetteville, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

This plant grows wild in my area around a couple of old limestone quarries and along some limestone cliffs outside Williamson, PA. I transplanted a few trees that were growing in the area that the county mows every summer during late June last year, where we had a near-record drought, and the only watering the plants needed was the initial one when I transplanted them. They have thorns on the branches, but they are no worse than those of your average rose bush, and the glossy green foliage and interesting berries (that birds seem to like) are well worth it. The shrubs/small trees will spread by roots, much like a lilac or elder, so that in time they form a nice hedge/small grove. They also tolerate extremely dry limestone soil as well as damp clay soil and are estremely drought toleran... read more