Zanthoxylum coriaceum A. Rich.
Common Names: Hercules Club, Doctors Club, Shake Hand, leathery Prickly Ash
Habit: Zanthoxylum coriaceum grows as a shrub to small tree up to 7 meters in height. The base of older specimens has distinctive corky conical knobs and the stems have thorns. The evenly pinnate, compound leaves are arranged alternately and are up to 25 cm in length. The 4-12 leaflets are to 7 cm in length, ovate to oblong, with an obtuse or emarginate leaf apex and entire margin. The leaflets are dark green and shiny and are aromatic when crushed.
The dioecious actinomorphic flowers are arranged in dense terminal cymes. The calyx has 3 unfused, green sepals. The corolla has 3 unfused, greenish-white petals. Staminate flowers have 3 stamens and a non-functional ovary. Carpellate flowers have no stamens and 3 unfused superior ovaries each with1 locule and 1-3 seeds. The fruit is a follicle at maturity with black seeds.
Habitat: Zanthoxylum coriaceum grows primarily as an understory shrub (occasional tree) in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formation – Forest/Shrubland in both a limestone and a sand substrate.
Distribution in Bahamas/Globally: Zanthoxylum coriaceum grows on all island groupings in the Bahamian Archipelago as well as Florida and the Caribbean region.
Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Zanthoxylum coriaceum is not used medicinally in the Bahamas.
In Florida it is a host plant to the Schaus Swallow Tail Butterfly.