Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

Zanthoxylum clava-herculis

Leaves are pinnately compound, alternate, and deciduous with usually 7-9 (but up to 19) ovate leaflets with toothed margins and glands between the teeth. Prickles are occasionally found on the rachis. Bark is gray to brown with sharp prickles on young stems and large corky flattened prickles on older stems (hence the name). Fruit is a follicle. Form is a single-stemmed shrub or small tree up to 10 m (33 ft) in height, often forming thickets. Hercules-club is found on sandy sites in the southeastern Coastal Plain. The bark was chewed to ease toothaches.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

To view examples, click on the thumbnail below: