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Root family. Homeland - South and North America, Africa, Asia, Japan and Australia. In nature, there are more than two hundred species of deciduous or evergreen trees and shrubs. At home, mainly in China and Japan, zanthoxylum is used in cooking as a spice for seafood.
Zanthoxylum is known by the names Japanese pepper, Sichuan pepper, and Hua Zhao (Chinese name).
- Zanthoxylum pepper Zanthoxylum piperitum is an evergreen shrub or tree, in nature up to 3m in height. It has odd-pinnate, sometimes trifoliate leaves, with opposite, whole-cut or toothed segments, of which there are always an odd number from 7 to 17. Leaves are light green, rather thin, oblong-oval, pointed at the end with a crenate (rounded toothed) edge. The bark of the trunk and shoots is smooth, gray. The trunk has thorns like citrus fruits. The racemose axillary inflorescences bear small yellow dioecious flowers (flowering May-June), appear only on old branches. The fruit is pink or reddish in color with a citrus scent (it has two black seeds).
- American Zanthoxylum Zanthoxylum americanum is the birthplace of the USA. Branching shrub up to 6 m in height. The bark of the trunks is brown, with sharp thorns. Shoots are long, drooping. Leaves are pinnate, with opposite segments - leaflets, up to 11. Each leaf is dark green, non-petiolate, oval in shape, pointed at the end. Leaves are dense, slightly bent along the central vein, with a smooth or jagged edge. The fruit is red, about 5 mm in diameter.
- Zanthoxylum phagara Zanthoxylum fagara is a branched evergreen tree, 4.5 to 7.5 m high, common in the coastal forests of Florida (in the Bahamas, Mexico, etc.). The trunk is prickly (the thorns are bent), with gray bark, the branches are thin, the leaves are complexly pinnate, dense. The number of leaflets is always odd, each about 4 cm long, obovate with a crenate (rounded toothed) edge, with a very short petiole. Flowering at home occurs throughout the growing season. Flowers are small, yellow, collected in multi-flowered axillary inflorescences. Fleshy fruits, about 1 cm in diameter, with large black seeds.
It is Zanthoxylum phagara that is often confused with Operculikaria. The main difference is the presence of sharp numerous thorns in Zanthoxylum fagara and the absence of a waxy glossy sheen on the leaves. The zanthoxylum fruit does not at all look like an orange or lemon - it is a small box. But if you wrinkle and rub it with your fingers, you will feel a clear citrus aroma.
Zanthoxylum - care and maintenance
Temperature: Zanthoxylum naturally grows in subtropical regions, it is quite thermophilic. In winter, the optimum is 16-18 ° C, minimum 12 ° C (planted in small pots and bonsai plants does not tolerate frost and drafts!). In summer, zanthoxylum is placed outdoors under light shading. An ideal option in the summer is an east, northwest window, even a southeast window; in winter, it is permissible to keep on a sunny windowsill without shading.
Lighting: Bright, diffused light in summer, with some direct sun (shading only needed in the afternoon). Full sun in autumn and winter.
Watering: Abundant from spring to autumn, water much less often in winter, but does not allow the soil to dry out. From excessive dampness, the roots can rot, with insufficient watering, leaves fly around, if the plant is dry, it can die. Zanthoxylum does not like watering with hard water, despite the fact that it has thorns and the need for calcium is quite high.
Fertilizer: From April to September, they are fed with complex fertilizer for indoor plants. Top dressing is carried out weekly, in half the dose.
Air humidity: Zanthoxylum requires very high humidity, so it is regularly sprayed. Well tolerates a weekly hot shower (as a prophylaxis against spider mites).
Transplant: Transplant in spring, young annually, more mature - once every 2-3 years. Soil mixture: 2 parts of turf, 1 part of leafy soil, 1 part of humus, 1 part of sand (fine expanded clay, vermiculite). Or a purchased potting soil mixture for citrus and baking powder (expanded clay, vermiculite, fine gravel).
Reproduction: Cuttings and layering in early spring, seeds.
Practically in all countries where zanthoxylum grows, it has found medical use. So, the Indians treated them literally everything - from fever, cough, to rheumatism, burns and wound surfaces. In the modern world, zanthoxylum extract has been introduced into the composition of medicinal shampoos, toothpastes, rosacea cream and medicines.
All parts of the plant: bark, leaves, zanthoxylum berries have a tonic, wound healing and antibacterial effect. If you suffer from periodontal disease, tooth decay or bleeding gums, then look for a toothpaste containing zanthoxylum extract.