General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 7b -15 °C (5 °F) to -12.2 °C (10 °F)
Plant Height: 25-40 feet
Plant Spread: 15-20 feet
Leaves: Fragrant
Other: deer like to feed on the leaves
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: White
Other: Greenish-white hanging in long panicles
Flower Time: Spring
Underground structures: Rhizome
Uses: Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Drought tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Self fertile
Other info: birds eat the seeds & distribute them
Containers: Not suitable for containers
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
With thorns/spines/prickles/teeth

Common names
  • Hercules Club
  • Toothache Tree
  • Tingle Tongue Tree

Photo Gallery
Location: Northeastern, Texas
Date: 2020-12-01

Date: c. 1819
illustration by P. J. Redouté from 'Nouveau Duhamel, ou Traité
Location: Oviedo, Florida, United States
Date: 2019-12-30
Location: Lockhart State park, Texas
Date: 2021-05-07
One tough tree
Location: Northeastern, Texas
Date: may 2010
Young tree - about 2 yrs

photo credit:  Sharpj99
Location: Northeastern, Texas
Date: 2017-04-20
Location: zone 8 Lake City, Fl.
Date: 2011-12-21
Location: zone 8 Lake City, Fl.
Date: 2012-08-17
immature fruit
Location: North Carolina Botanical Gardens Chapel Hill, NC
Date: late June 2014
Identified as Toothachetree.
Location: Northeastern, Texas
Date: 2015-08-05
Uploaded by Sheila_FW
Location: zone 8 Lake City, Fl.
Date: 2011-12-21
Location: zone 8 Lake City, Fl.
Date: 2012-03-14
note the details
Location: zone 8 Lake City, Fl.
Date: 2012-03-14
note the reddish tint on the stems
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: 2011-10-15
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: 2011-10-15
  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Sep 12, 2020 8:02 AM concerning plant:
    This Hercules-Club gets its common name from mature trunks having knobs, making it look like one of those clubs having knobs on the surface. It is also called the Southern Prickley-Ash or the Southern Toothache Tree. It grows larger than the Northern Prickley-Ash of Z. americanum with more leathery leaves. The compound leaves are 5 to 8 inches long with usually 7 to 9 leaflets, though up to 19 is possible. The small greenish-yellow flowers and fruit are borne terminally rather than auxiliary as with the more northern species. Native along the coast of Virginia into Florida to east Texas & Oklahoma.
  • Posted by plantladylin (Sebastian, Florida - Zone 10a) on Oct 19, 2011 8:17 AM concerning plant:
    The Hercules' Club tree is a spiny shrub or tree native to the Southeastern United States. Attaining heights to 40 feet, it has waxy, leathery dark green leaves, a rounded crown and thick corky bumps on the bark that fade and disappear as the tree ages. One common name for this tree is "Toothache Tree" due to chewing of the leaves causes numbness in the mouth, tongue and teeth. Leaves were used for medicinal purposes by Native Americans and early settlers to relieve toothaches. Numerous birds eat the fruit of this tree and it's also a host plant for the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly.
Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
this belongs with the other Toothache Tree of Hercules-Club by ILPARW Sep 13, 2020 2:13 PM 3

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