Large shrub or small tree in the citrus family, native to the southeastern United States. Young branches are thorny, while on older trees the trunk develops warty projections that give the tree its common name. The species is dioecious; we didn't know if we purchased a boy or a girl, but it must be female: the following spring the flowers gave way to small fruit. The tree is a larval host to the giant swallowtail butterfly, which I finally spotted on this plant after four years in the garden.
|Hercules club; southern prickly ash
|inconspicuous, yellow-green (early spring)
|Mid-March: a little later to come back in spring than most other trees...
|...but once it does, it doesn't waste any time: flower buds a week later
|Following insignificant flowers, little green fruits like miniature limes
|Softly fuzzy new woody growth
|Earliest sign of regrowth, mid-March 2019
|A giant swallowtail caterpillar – not nearly as pretty as its mom
|Five years in the garden, and indeed the lower trunk is starting to develop more warty protrusions and fewer thorns – but the ones that remain are vicious!
In our garden, this plant grows in the following area: left fence border
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|Apr 30, 2022
|The Zanthoxylum grows wild in my area of south Bexar County.
I've found several volunteers scattered around my garden this year – I assumed that's because the seeds from my main tree are eaten and distributed by birds, but it's possible they just naturally occur here.
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