Zanthoxylum ailanthoides is a deciduous Tree growing to 18 m (59ft 1in).Branchlets and inflorescence rachises glabrous, with prickles. Leaves 11-27-foliolate; leaflet blades opposite, narrowly lanceolate but subovate basally on rachis, 7-18 × 2-6 cm, abaxially grayish green or glaucescent, oil glands numerous, midvein adaxially impressed, secondary veins 11-16 on each side of midvein, base symmetrically or subobliquely rounded, margin crenate, apex acuminate. Inflorescences terminal, many flowered. Flowers 5-merous, subsessile. Perianth in 2 series. Sepals broadly triangular, ca. 0.8 mm. Petals pale yellowish white, ca. 2.5 mm. Male flowers: stamens 5; rudimentary gynoecium disciform, 2- or 3-lobed. Female flowers (3 or)4-carpelled. Fruit pedicel 1-3 mm; follicles pale reddish brown but pale gray to brownish gray when dry, ca. 4.5 mm in diam., oil glands numerous, impressed when dry, apex not beaked. Seeds ca. 4 mm in diam. Flower in. Aug-Sep, and Fruit in Oct-Dec.
The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required)The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Prefers a good deep well-drained moisture retentive soil in full sun or semi-shade. A rather frost-tender species, it is not hardy in most of Britain but succeeds outdoors in the mildest areas of the country. Flowers are formed on the old wood. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Stored seed may requires up to 3 months cold stratification, though scarification may also help. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Germination should take place in late spring, though it might take another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings, 3cm long, planted horizontally in pots in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers, removed in late winter and planted into their permanent positions
Edible Uses: Condiment.
Seed – cooked. A pungent flavour, it is used as a condiment. A red pepper substitute. The fruit is rather small but is produced in clusters which makes harvesting easy. Each fruit contains a single seed. Young leaves. No more details are given.
Antitussive; Carminative; Stimulant.
The resin contained in the bark, and especially in that of the roots, is antitussive, carminative, and powerfully stimulant.
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