Herbs & Plants

Zanthoxylum coreanum

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Botanical Name : Zanthoxylum coreanum
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Zanthoxylum
Species: Z. coreanum
Order: Sapindales

Common Names : Korean lime tree, Zanthoxylum coreanum

Habitat : Zanthoxylum coreanum Nakai is distributed only in Korea and China. In Korea, it is found on Jeju Island, it is usually found 700-1100m above the sea level. It is usually near valleys and seashores. It is a rare species that has strong germination growth, meaning that they can germinate in hard climates. It can grow in low altitudes and in well drained soil. It can be introduced to a new area where it has a milder condition and soil that can drain water well.
Zanthoxylum coreanum is a deciduous Shrub. 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.

The stems grow erect, and have hairs and thorns. The thorns on the stem can reach a length of 6–12 mm. There are sometimes thorns on the rachis. The leaf is arranged in alternate and is pinnately compound leaf venation. The leaves are shiny and have a strong smell. There are about 7 to 13 leaves on each pinnate venation and the leaves are 1–3 cm wide and 2–5 cm long. Each leaf has ovate or lanceolate shape and serrate marginal shape. It also produces fruits and flowers.


Flowers of Zanthoxylum coreanum, are only present on old wood. Flowers are in short panicle and diameter of 4–6 cm. The flowers bloom in May and petals are absent from the flower. In a male flower, there are 5–6 calyx and 5 stamens. In female flower, there are 5–8 calyx and 2 carpels. Fruits of Zanthoxylum coreanum are in a capsule and in globular shape. It usually has a length of 5 mm and diameter of 4 mm. The fruit matures in September
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.

Cultivation: Zanthoxylum coreanum could succeed outdoors at least in the milder areas of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a good deep well-drained moisture retentive soil in full sun or semi-shade. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Flowers are formed on the old wood.

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: The leaves are eaten raw or cooked.

Medicinal Uses:
In Korea, Zanthoxylum coreanum is used for many medical purposes. The resin contained in the bark, and especially in that of the roots, is powerfully stimulant and tonic.

It is made into crude medicine for many sicknesses. Sicknesses include ozena, rheumatoid, nasal sinusitis, meno-xenia, dysperpsia, toothache, sore throat, pains in the limbs and more. In an experiment, done by Jae-Hyoung Song, Sung Wook Chae and Kyung-Ah Yoon and more, had proved that Zanthoxylum coreanum contains antiviral against PEDV (porcine epidemic diarrhea virus). Further studies are necessary to know what causes the antiviral against PEDV.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.