A member of the citrus family (Rutaceae), Zanthoxylum schinifolium is an aromatic shrub with protective thorns and surprising culinary and pharmacological properties.
Zanthoxylum schinifolium is a shrubby, Chinese "prickly ash" species noted for its glossy, pinnately compound leaves and terminal, dioecious corymbs (unisexual flowers on separate plants). The bark and roots of this and other Zanthoxylum species are used in traditional medicine as stimulants and tonics. The pericarp, which contains geraniol, has anaesthetic and diuretic qualities and is known to be a parasiticide and vasodilator. The dried fruit is used as a pepper substitute. Zanthoxylum species are native to the eastern United States, temperate and tropical East Asia and Hawaii.