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Zanthoxylum armatum - Sechuan Pepper, Sichuan Pepper, Toothache Tree

  • Zanthoxylum armatum (Sechuan, Sichuan Pepper) is an easy-to-grow, drought tolerant, ornamental fruit shrub with stout spines. It produces small, yellow flowers and red fruits that have black seeds. If dried, the seed pods can be used as a condiment which is stronger and more pungent than black pepper! Its Autumn coloration is remarkable: somewhere between pink and red. Its spines will never die, instead, they grow and age together with the plant and in a few years, they became 10 times larger than in their first year. It can be planted into the ground, or into a large pot - keeping it on the patio; also suitable for bonsai. An unusual, hardy ornamental and spice. Although some sources say it is dioecious, one plant usually fruits well, but it would fruit 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. With its spines, it looks exotic in any garden, especially if planted alone but it is also great in borders too with other drought tolerant shrubs.

  • We have excellent quality, 15-20cm tall starter plants on offer.

Other common names:  Flatspine Prickly-ash, Szechuan Pepper (as several species called)
Native to:     China, where it grows on hillsides and open woods
Family:     Rutaeae (Citrus Family)
Habit (UK conditions):  medium sized, rounded shrub
Growth rate: medium
Typical size in 10 years:  1-2m x 1-2m
Main value:    Autumn coloration, fruits, spines
Flower colour:    creamy (not significant)
Flowering period:   May - June
Autumn coloration:   shades of orange and yellow
Preferences: easily grown in loamy soils in most positions, but prefers a good deep well-drained moisture retentive soil in full sun or semi-shade
Hardiness:    hardy to about -20C

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