Shinners' Tickle-tongue / Center For Plant Conservation
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Plant Profile

Shinners' Tickle-tongue (Zanthoxylum parvum)

A closeup of a flowering branch of this species in the greenhouse. Photo Credit: Joyce Maschinski
  • Global Rank: G2 - Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Rutaceae
  • State: TX
  • Nature Serve ID: 143252
  • Lifeform: Shrub
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 04/04/1991

The bark, leaves, and fruit of species in the genus Zanthoxylum have historically been used medicinally, especially in Latin America. It is said to treat various ailments, including toothaches, intestinal problems, and rheumatism. (Powell 1988) In addition to these medicinal uses, species in the Zanthoxylum genus have been used as wildlife food, condiments, dyes, and diaphoretics (Vines 1976). This species, the small prickly-ash, or Zanthoxylum parvum, is a shrub that grows up to 2 meters (6 feet) tall, with spines along its stem and branches. It is dioecious (produces male and female flowers on separate plants), producing small flowers before leaves mature in the early spring. Compound leaves are arranged oppositely, and are composed of 7 to 9 leaflets each.

Where is Shinners' Tickle-tongue (Zanthoxylum parvum) located in the wild?


Found on relatively steep north- to east- facing slopes at elevations ranging from 4500 to 5700 feet. (Poole 1989)This species is a minor component of the shrub layer in an oak-maple complex woodland. Frequently associated species include Acer grandidentatum, Quercus gravesii, Q. muhlenbergii, Q. grisea, Prunus serotina, Fraxinus velutina, Ugnadia speciosa, Rhus aromatica, R. virens, Fendlera rupicola, Ptelea trifoliata, Nolina texana, Cercocarpus montanus, Phacelia sp., Senecio millelobatus, Muhlenbergia sp., Festuca sp., Aristida sp., Desmodium psilophyllum, Thelypodium wrightii, and Erysimum capitatum. (Poole 1989)


Found in the Northeastern Davis Mountains in Jeff Davis County, as well as in Brewster County, Texas. (Poole 1989; USFWS 2000)

States & Provinces:

Shinners' Tickle-tongue can be found in Texas

Which CPC Partners conserve Shinners' Tickle-tongue (Zanthoxylum parvum)?

CPC's Plant Sponsorship Program provides long term stewardship of rare plants in our National Collection. We are so grateful for all our donors who have made the Plant Sponsorship Program so successful. We are in the process of acknowledging all our wonderful plant sponsorship donors on our website. This is a work in progress and will be updated regularly.

Conservation Actions

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Known only from Texas in the northeastern Davis Mountains in Jeff Davis County and from Brewster County. Several additional sites were found in 2000, some of which included female plants, increasing the total number of sites to between 7 and 9 (USFWS 2000).

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Threats include: Erosion Road maintenance - blading Reproductive problems Low populations numbers

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

The total number of sites where this species is found is between seven and nine (USFWS 2000)

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

J.C. Zech, L.K. Hedges, and S.J. Carlson from Sul Ross State University (Alpine, TX) and Region 1 Natural and Cultural Resources Program, Texas Parks and Wildlife (Fort Davis, TX) presented a paper entitled ""The reproductive biology of a west Texas endemic, Zanthoxylum parvum (Rutaceae)"" at the Third Rare and Endangered Plant Conference in 2000.

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

The Nature Conservancy of Texas acquired significant land in the area where this species is found, and has secured conservation easements on others, likely improving the conservation situation of this species. (USFWS 2000)


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Taxon Zanthoxylum parvum
Authority Shinners
Family Rutaceae
CPC Number 4449
ITIS 28864
Duration Perennial
Common Names Shinner's tickle-tongue | small prickly-ash | tickletongue
Associated Scientific Names Zanthoxylum parvum
Distribution Found in the Northeastern Davis Mountains in Jeff Davis County, as well as in Brewster County, Texas. (Poole 1989; USFWS 2000)
State Rank
State State Rank
Texas S2
Ecological Relationships


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