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Zanthoxylum simulans - Hance.                
                 
Common Name Szechuan Pepper
Family Rutaceae
Synonyms Zanthoxylum acanthophyllum. Zanthoxylum argyi. Zanthoxylum podocarpum
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Virgin wilds, hillsides and open woods[147].
Range E. Asia - China.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of shrub
Zanthoxylum simulans is a deciduous Shrub growing to 4 m (13ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required)The plant is not self-fertile.


USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Zanthoxylum simulans Szechuan Pepper


commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Teacoolish
Zanthoxylum simulans Szechuan Pepper
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Condiment.

The fruit is dried and used as a condiment[46, 61, 105, 177]. A pepper flavour, it is stronger and more pungent than black pepper[183]. It can be used whole or ground into a powder and used as a table seasoning[183]. A light roasting brings out more of the flavour[206]. It is an ingredient of the famous Chinese 'five spice' mixture[206].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Anodyne;  Anthelmintic;  Antidote;  Antiphlogistic;  Astringent;  Carminative;  Diaphoretic;  Digestive;  Diuretic;  Emmenagogue;  Stimulant;  
Stomachic;  Tonic;  Vasodilator.

Astringent, diaphoretic, emmenagogue[116, 178]. The pericarp is anaesthetic, diuretic, parasiticide and vasodilator[176]. It is used in the treatment of gastralgia and dyspepsia due to cold with vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, ascariasis and dermal diseases[176]. It has a local anaesthetic action and is parasiticide against the pork tapeworm (Taenia solium)[176]. The pericarp contains geraniol. In small doses this has a mild diuretic action, though large doses will inhibit the excretion of urine[176]. There is a persistent increase in peristalsis at low concentration, but inhibition at high concentration[176]. The leaves are carminative, stimulant and sudorific[147, 218]. The fruit is carminative, diuretic, stimulant, stomachic and tonic[147, 218]. The seed is antiphlogistic and diuretic[218]. A decoction of the root is digestive and also used in the treatment of snakebites[218]. The resin contained in the bark, and especially in that of the roots, is powerfully stimulant and tonic[82].
Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details                                         
Easily grown in loamy soils in most positions, but prefers a good deep well-drained moisture retentive soil in full sun or semi-shade[1, 11, 200]. A plant has been growing well for many years in deep woodland shade at Cambridge Botanical gardens, it was fruiting heavily in autumn 1996[K]. Cultivated for its seed, which is used as a condiment in China[46, 61]. Flowers are formed on the old wood[206]. The bruised leaves are strongly aromatic[245]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Stored seed may requires up to 3 months cold stratification, though scarification may also help[113]. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Germination should take place in late spring, though it might take another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings, 3cm long, planted horizontally in pots in a greenhouse. Good percentage[78]. Suckers, removed in late winter and planted into their permanent positions[113].
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
Hance.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
11200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[11]Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[78]Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
[82]Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader.
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[113]Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation.
A very detailed book on propagating trees. Not for the casual reader.
[116]Brooklyn Botanic Garden Oriental Herbs and Vegetables, Vol 39 No. 2.
A small booklet packed with information.
[147]? A Barefoot Doctors Manual.
A very readable herbal from China, combining some modern methods with traditional chinese methods.
[176]Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas.
An excellent Chinese herbal giving information on over 500 species. Rather technical and probably best suited to the more accomplished user of herbs.
[177]Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption.
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
[178]Stuart. Rev. G. A. Chinese Materia Medica.
A translation of an ancient Chinese herbal. Fascinating.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[206]Larkcom J. Oriental Vegetables
Well written and very informative.
[218]Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
[245]Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World.
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Klaus Dichtel Sun Jan 19 18:20:13 2003
In spring `01 we planted 3, each about 50cm high. Only one survived the first winter (lowest temperature -17°), though it is said here that it is hardy in zone 6 and we`ve got 8. This is why I presume zanthoxylum s. needs more continental climate than we`ve got here (maybe 3-4).
Elizabeth H.
Ken Fern Thu Jan 30 11:34:20 2003
Dear Klaus

Thanks for the note about Zanthoxylum simulans. I'm surprised that you say you are in climatic zone 8 if you get winter temperatures down to -20 ºC - according to the climatic zones chart we use zone 8 denotes areas with mild winters where temperatures rarely drop below about -5ºC. Your winter temperatures denote climatic zone 6. Could you possibly let me know which guide to the climatic zones you are using since there does seem to be some confusion here!

As regards the winter hardiness of Zanthoxylum simulans - like most plants, it gets hardier as it gets older. In its first few years of life it is much more likely to be damaged by cold temperatures that go down near to its climatic tolerance. As you also pointed out, it does prefer a more continental climate with its hotter summers which ripens the wood of the plant better and thus allows it to tolerate colder conditions.

Even here in mild Cornwall, where it is unusual to get temperatures lower than -5ºC, we often get a lot of winter damage to the young shoots of trees and shrubs due to a lack of ripening of the wood. In fact in our first few years here, before our wind-protection hedges could get established, even the new plantings of supposedly hardy native plants such as the oak suffered severe damage to their shoots during the winter. They generally recovered well in the spring, only to suffer severe die back the following winter. It was 5 years before they really managed to get going!

Thanks also for the notes about the other plants - such comments are of great help to us. Happy gardening

Love and Peace

Ken

ric H.
May 15 2011 12:00AM
i planted seeds of Z. simulans from a spice store many years ago. i only got one plant but it has produced viable seeds several times. if it's a female i dont know where its pollen is coming from. i am in zone 5 iowa. its hardy here but if i leave it out all winter lots of upper branches die back so i keep it in a 44 F garage while dormant Ric
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