FIELD GUIDE TO SHRUBS

Northern Prickly Ash
Xanthoxylum americanum

Family: Oleaceae

Preferred Habitat: grown in average, medium-wet, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade, forms dense thickets

Range: Quebec to North Dakota, south to Georgia and Oklahoma

Height: up to 7.5 meters (25 feet)

Leaves: compound, alternate, with 5-11 toothed egg-shaped leaflets and often prickly leafstalks, leaves have lemon-like odor when crushed, dark green leaves

Flowers: small, greenish clusters on stems with thorns

Fruit: small, reddish brown, 1-2 seeded pods occurring from August to October, also occurring in clusters

Location spotted: Beaver Creek Park; Belmont, Massachusetts

Extra information: chewing leaves, fruits, or bark was once popular as a toothache cure, known as Toothache-tree in some places