Feb. 24, 2020

prickly-ash, Zanthoxylum americanum

Note the thorn at the lower left. There are LOTS of them on a prickly-ash. It can make a walk in the woods significantly less joyful. Does it have any redeeming value? The leaves and seeds have a citrus aroma when crushed. One might expect an aromatic plant that's easy to find - it practically reaches out and grabs - would be used by herbalists. Extracts and powders of the bark have been long used to treat various ailments. But perhaps its greatest redeemer is that caterpillars of great swallowtail butterflies feed on it. Common prickly-ash grows in AL, AR, CT, DE, FL(E), GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD(E), ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, ND, NE, NH(E), NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN(S), VA, VT, WI, WV, ON, and QC. Ives Fen Preserve, Lenawee Co MI, 5/11/19. Rue family, Rutaceae.