Zanthoxylum simulans - Chinese Pepper Tree, Rare herb


  • Very similar to the Japanese Pepper tree, but native to China. The seed pods of this plant are used as a pepper substitute in the Far East but also the fruits and leaves, even its bark are used as a condiment. An unusually thorny shrub with composed leaves and numerous small, red fruits that show a black shiny seed when opening in the Autumn. A medium sized shrub, easy to grow, drought tolerant and not fussy to soil conditions. The foliage turns a spectacular orange and yellow in Autumn. Its spines don't die but grow with the plant becoming a showy feature on the trunk of older plants (with a 4-5cm long base). One plant usually fruits well, but even better if you have several planted close to each other. It is suitable for smaller gardens, by a wall or in a border, but also good for the patio if grown in a container. It also makes a good bonsai.


Other common names:  Chinese Prickly Ash
Native to:     North to Central China
Family:     Rutaeae (Citrus Family)
Habit (UK conditions):  medium sized, rounded shrub
Growth rate: medium
Typical size in 10 years:   3m x 2m
Main value:    Autumn coloration, fruits, spines
Flower colour:    creamy (not significant)
Flowering period:   May - June
Autumn coloration:   shades of orange and yellow
Preferences:    grows best in full sun, on any soil with god drainage (drought tolerant)
Hardiness:    hardy to about -15C

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