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Starr 060325-6755 Zanthoxylum kauaense.jpg
Zanthoxylum kauaense
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Rutaceae
Subfamily: Zanthoxyloideae
Genus: Zanthoxylum
Type species
Zanthoxylum americanum
Zanthoxylum clava-herculis Fruit and foliage
Z. rhetsa bark in Pakke Tiger Reserve
Leafless Z. simulans showing its knobbed bark
Z. piperitum as a bonsai

Zanthoxylum is a genus of about 250 species of deciduous and evergreen trees, shrubs and climbers in the family Rutaceae that are native to warm temperate and subtropical areas worldwide. It is the type genus of the tribe Zanthoxyleae in the subfamily Rutoideae. Several of the species have yellow heartwood, to which their generic name alludes.[3] Several species are cultivated for their use as spices, notably including Sichuan pepper.


Plants in the genus Zanthoxylum are typically dioecious shrubs, trees or woody climbers armed with trichomes. The leaves are arranged alternately and are usually pinnate or trifoliate. The flowers are usually arranged in panicles and usually function as male or female flowers with four sepals and four petals, the sepals remaining attached to the fruit. Male flowers have four stamens opposite the sepals. Female flowers have up to five, more or less free carpels with the styles free or sometimes fused near the tip. The fruit is usually of up to four follicles fused at the base, each containing a single seed almost as large as the follicle.[4][5]


The genus Zanthoxylum was first formally described in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus in the first volume of Species Plantarum.[6][7] The generic name is derived from Ancient Greek words ξανθός (xanthos), meaning "yellow," and ξύλον (xylon), meaning "wood." It is technically misspelled, as the z should be x, but botanical nomenclature does not allow for spelling corrections. It refers to a yellow dye made from the roots of some species.[8] The first species that Linnaeus described was Zanthoxylum trifoliatum, now regarded as a synonym of Eleutherococcus trifoliatus.[7][9] The once separate genus Fagara is now included in Zanthoxylum.[10]

Fossil record[edit]

28 fossil seeds of †Zanthoxylum kristinae from the early Miocene, have been found in the Kristina Mine at Hrádek nad Nisou in North Bohemia, the Czech Republic.[11]


Many Zanthoxylum species make excellent bonsai and in temperate climates they can be grown quite well indoors. Zanthoxylum beecheyanum and Zanthoxylum piperitum are two species commonly grown as bonsai.[12]

Culinary use[edit]

Spices are made from a number of species in this genus, including:


In Indonesia's North Sumatra province, Zanthoxylum acanthopodium is harvested for andaliman.[13] In Indonesian Batak cuisine, andaliman is ground and mixed with chilies and seasonings into a green sambal or chili paste.[14] Arsik is a typical Indonesian dish containing andaliman.[15]

Chopi and sansho[edit]

Zanthoxylum piperitum is harvested in Japan and Korea to produce sanshō (山椒) or chopi (초피), which has numbing properties similar to those of Chinese Sichuan peppercorns.[16]


The Korean Sancho (산초, 山椒) is made from (Zanthoxylum schinifolium), which is slightly less bitter than chopi.[17] In Korean cuisine, sancho is often used to accompany fish soups such as chueo-tang.[18]

Sichuan pepper[edit]

The fruit of Zanthoxylum armatum Zanthoxylum bungeanum Xanthoxylum species is used to make Sichuan pepper by grinding the husks that surround the berries.[19]

Triphal and teppal[edit]

In the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Goa in Western India, the dried berries of Zanthoxylum rhetsa are known as teppal or tirphal in Marathi are added to foods such as legumes and fish. The name in both languages means three fruits or three pods.[20] Because the trees bear fruit during the monsoon season, the berries are associated with the concurrent Krishna Janmashtami festival.[21]

The fresh fruits are parrot green in color and are used as a flavouring agent in many curries made with a paste of coconut, chilis, and other spices. When dried, the flesh of the fruit hardens, turns a brownish black color and opens up to show the black seeds within. The seeds are discarded and the dried fruit is stored in containers for use around the year. Mostly used in fish preparations and a few vegetarian dishes, with coconut masala, this spice has a very strong woody aroma and is discarded at the time of eating the curry.


Plants in the genus Zanthoxylum contain the lignan sesamin.

Species identified in Nigeria contains several types of alkaloids including benzophenanthridines (nitidine, dihydronitidine, oxynitidine, fagaronine, dihydroavicine, chelerythrine, dihydrochelerythrine, methoxychelerythrine, norchelerythrine, oxychelerythrine, decarine and fagaridine), furoquinolines (dictamine, 8-methoxydictamine, skimmianine, 3-dimethylallyl-4-methoxy-2-quinolone), carbazoles (3-methoxycarbazole, glycozoline), aporphines (berberine, tembetarine,[22] magnoflorine, M-methyl-corydine), canthinones (6-canthinone), acridones (1-hydroxy-3-methoxy-10-methylacridon-9-one, 1-hydroxy-10-methylacridon-9-one, zanthozolin), and aromatic and aliphatic amides.[23] Hydroxy-alpha sanshool is a bioactive component of plants from the genus Zanthoxylum, including the Sichuan pepper.


Zanthoxylum species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the engrailed (Ectropis crepuscularia).

Species list[edit]

The following is a list of species accepted by Plants of the World Online as of August 2020:[2]

Doubtful species[edit]

The genus Fagara has been sunk into Zanthoxylum, but as of September 2021, no name seemed to have been provided for the former Fagara externa, which was regarded as an unplaced name by Plants of the World Online.[24]


  1. ^ "Zanthoxylum L." TROPICOS. Missouri Botanical Garden. Archived from the original on 2010-09-10. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
  2. ^ a b "Zanthoxylum". Plants of the World Online. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  3. ^ Thomas, Val; Grant, Rina (2001). Sappi tree spotting: Highlands: Highveld, Drakensberg, Eastern Cape mountains. illustrations: Joan van Gogh; photographs: Jaco Adendorff (3rd ed.). Johannesburg: Jacana. p. 260. ISBN 978-1-77009-561-8.
  4. ^ "Genus Zanthoxylum". Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  5. ^ Hartley, Thomas G. (2013). Wilson, Annette J.G. (ed.). Flora of Australia (Volume 26). Canberra: Australian Biological Resources Study. p. 74. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  6. ^ "Zanthoxylum". APNI. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  7. ^ a b Linnaeus, Carl (1753). Species Plantarum. Berlin: Junk, 1908. p. 270. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  8. ^ Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names. Vol. IV R-Z. Taylor & Francis US. p. 2868. ISBN 978-0-8493-2678-3.
  9. ^ "Zanthoxylum trifoliatum". Plants of the World Online. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  10. ^ Beurton, C. (1994). "Gynoecium and perianth in Zanthoxylum s.l. (Rutaceae)". Plant Systematics and Evolution. 189 (3–4): 165–191. doi:10.1007/bf00939724. S2CID 2655415.
  11. ^ A review of the early Miocene Mastixioid flora of the Kristina Mine at Hrádek nad Nisou in North Bohemia, The Czech Republic, January 2012 by F. Holý, Z. Kvaček and Vasilis Teodoridis - ACTA MUSEI NATIONALIS PRAGAE Series B – Historia Naturalis • vol. 68 • 2012 • no. 3–4 • pp. 53–118
  12. ^ Wilbur, C. Keith, MD. Revolutionary Medicine 1700-1800. The Globe Pequot Press. Page 23. 1980.
  13. ^ "Andaliman – A Family of Sichuan Pepper". 3 November 2006. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  14. ^ Leifsson, Lanny (8 November 2011). "Sambal Andaliman Recipe (Andaliman Pepper Sambal)". Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  15. ^ "Arsik Recipe (Spiced Carp with Torch Ginger and Andaliman – Mandailing Style)". 12 July 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  16. ^ Ravindran, P. N. (2017). "100 Japanese Pepper Zanthoxylum piperitum". The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Spices. CAB International. pp. 473–476. ISBN 978-1-780-64315-1.
  17. ^ "Szechuan Peppercorns)". 17 June 2020. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  18. ^ Gowman, Philip (5 December 2016). "In praise of Sancho and Flat Three". Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  19. ^ Peter, K. V. (2004). Handbook of Herbs and Spices. Vol. 2. Woodhead Publishing. pp. 98–99. ISBN 978-1-85573-721-1.
  20. ^ "Tirphal/ Teppal Pepper". Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  21. ^ Bharadwaj, Monisha (2006). Indian Spice Kitchen. Hippocrene Books. pp. 82–83. ISBN 978-0-7818-1143-9.
  22. ^ "{title}". Archived from the original on 2017-12-17. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  23. ^ The Nigerian Zanthoxylum; Chemical and biological values. S. K. Adesina, Afr. J. Trad. CAM, 2005, volume 2, issue 3, pages 282-301 (article Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine)
  24. ^ "Fagara externa Skottsb". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-09-13.

External links[edit]


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