CPC Plant Profile: Biscayne Prickly-ash
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Plant Profile

Biscayne Prickly-ash (Zanthoxylum coriaceum)

A reintroduced Zanthoxylum coriaceum flowering in a City of Miami preserve. Photo Credit: S. Wright
  • Global Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Rutaceae
  • State: FL
  • Nature Serve ID: 142953
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 10/22/2021

Shrub or small tree to 7 m tall. Stems armed with prickles. Leaves imparipinnate, infrequently paripinnate, (3-) 5-7-foliolate, (6-) 9-14(-18) cm long; central leaf stalk not winged; leaflets leathery, oblong to elliptic, ovate or obovate, with apex acute to acuminate or emarginated, larger leaflets (2-) 3-8(12) x (1-) 2-4(-5) cm, the margin unarmed, entire to barely crenate, rarely crenate, with teeth separated 2-4(-5) mm at the middle of leaflets; pellucid dots not obvious or < 0.2 mm diameter, sparse on blades. Inflorescence 6-9(-14) cm long. Flowers unisexual in dense terminal cymes; sepals three, about 1 mm long, petals 3, stamens 3, follicles 5-6 mm long. Fruit round, in dense clusters, thickly dotted with small glands, 46 mm (Coile 2000, Reynel 1995, Long and Lakela 1971, Buswell 1945).

Participating Institutions
  • 10/09/2020
  • Demographic Research

Demography study at Crandon Park.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Restricted to south Florida and the West Caribbean (Correll and Correll 1982). Rare in Florida (Wunderlin 1998). More information on its status in the West Caribbean is needed.

Devon Powell and Samuel Wright
  • 01/01/2010

Natural: Herbivory: Potential host to Toxoptera citricida, the brown citrus aphid (Michaud 1998), a moderate infestation of T. citricida was found on plants within a garden (doacs.state.fl.us); ineffective host of Giant Swallowtail, Papilio cresphontes

Devon Powell and Samuel Wright
  • 01/01/2010

8 populations for a total of 306 individuals

Devon Powell and Samuel Wright
  • 01/01/2010

Demography study at Crandon Park.

Devon Powell and Samuel Wright
  • 01/01/2010

Management of fire around plants. Plants are killed from fire.

Devon Powell and Samuel Wright
  • 01/01/2010

Seed banking


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Taxon Zanthoxylum coriaceum
Authority A. Rich
Family Rutaceae
CPC Number 4451
ITIS 28861
Common Names Biscayne Prickly Ash | Biscayne pricklyash
Associated Scientific Names Zanthoxylum coriaceum
Distribution Florida(Historic)The Keys of Dade and Monroe County (Lakela and Craighead 1965); South Florida and Keys (Long and Lakela 1971); Southeastern US, Florida (Reynel 1995)Not mentioned in Small 1913
State Rank
State State Rank
Florida S1

COASTAL STRAND, MARITIME HAMMOCK. Coastal hammocks (Long and Lakela 1971, Wunderlin 1998); tropical hammocks, sandy beaches (Coile 2000); near the coast. (Buswell 1945); dry woodlands or scrubs, usually rocky soil or on limestone, commonly in coastal thickets up to 500 m (Reynel 1995); maritime hammocks (Gann et al. 2002), coastal strand and coastal strand/maritime hammock ecotone (Wright pers. obs.).

Ecological Relationships

Physical Features:-Soil: Substrate varies by site. Areas containing Z. coriaceum at Site 23 contain mostly sand with small amount organic matter while plants in Site 102 occur in hammock habitats with more organic soil.-Elevation: Low (coastal)-Aspect: unknown-Slope: unknown-Moisture: Low. Also tolerant of an unknown but presumed low level of salt spray.-Light: Z. coriaceum seedlings germinate under partial shade, but may require full sun to flower (Fernandez, per. comm.).Biotic Features:-Community: Found mostly in coastal hammocks and occasionally in coastal strand. Commonly associated with Metopium toxiferum (poison wood), Coccoloba uvifera (sea grape), Ardisia escallonioides (marlberry), Guapira discolor (blolly), and Psychotria nervosa (wild coffee). -Interactions:-Competition: Zanthoxylum sp. can be locally abundant; many species exhibit pioneer behavior growing in areas affected by human disturbance (Reynel 1995)-Mutualism: unknown-Parasitism: n/a-Host: Larval host plant for giant swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) butterflies. (Institute for Regional conservation)-Other: unknown-Animal use: spiders have been observed making nest in leavesNatural Disturbance:-Fire: This species appears to be relatively fire-intolerant. Fires in the maritime hammock at one site in the 1990s caused mortality of several individuals.-Hurricane: unknown, hurricanes and storms may open up canopy, which may help facilitate flowering, fruiting and dispersal-Slope Movement: unknown-Small Scale (i.e. Animal Digging): unknown-Temperature: unknown

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

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