Lime pricklyash, Colima

Zanthoxylum fagara (L.) Sarg.

Rutaceae (Citrus family)


Lime pricklyash is a native, cool-season perennial. It is an evergreen shrub or small tree growing to 25 feet tall. The plant is very prickly and appears as a rounded shrub or a member of a brush motte, which is a grove or clump of trees in an open area.

The leaves are located alternately along the stems and are compound, with five to 13 leaflets arranged on a common axis and attached to a winged main stem. The leaflets are oval, from 1 to 2› inches long and commonly have a toothed margin. When crushed, they smell like citrus.

The flowers are yellowish green and appear in late winter to spring. The fruit is a one-seeded pod that turns red or brownish red when ripe.

The leaves of lime pricklyash are valuable browse for whitetail deer, and the seeds are eaten by seed-eating birds such as quail. The shrubs are also a favorite nesting site for several species of passerine (perching) birds.


Lime pricklyash grows in the brush and chaparral of the Rio Grande Plains and the coastal prairie on clay loam or sandy clay loam soils that are fairly well drained.