Szechuan Pepper (Zanthoxylum simulans), packet of 10 seeds, Organic
Hardy to Zones 5 to 7.
(Hua-jiao, Sichuan Pepper, Szechwan Pepper, Flatspine Prickly Ash, Chinese Prickly Ash) Dioecious shrub to 6 feet tall. Native to E . China and Taiwan. Handsome prickly landscape plant that yields the famous tongue-tingling spice that characterizes Sichuan cuisine. The red portion (pictured) is the part used. This is the seed husk, or pericarp, an appetite stimulant and flavor enhancer that prepares the palate for spicy hot foods. Add the powdered herb at the last minute for best effect! At the spice market in Kunming I observed workers separating husk from seed. They offered me the husks, and were quite surprised that I wished to obtain the seed instead! Years later we have the newly harvested seed available to growers in the US. In TCM, the herb is used to warm the middle burner and is considered an excellent treatment for acute abdominal pain, vomiting, and watery diarrhea. Zanthoxylum promotes blood circulation and is often included in formulas to help move other herbs throughout the body and to the outer extremities. It is an ingredient in the famous “five spice powder.” The shrub does best in moist, rich soil in the sun to part shade. They are dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants) but female plants are nonetheless self fertile. I know this sounds like an oxymoron but it is relatively common in nature. Sow seed in the fall for germination in the spring. Alternatively, give 90 days cold, moist refrigeration (put seed in moist medium in a plastic bag and refrigerate, not freeze) and then plant in warm conditions. Germination can take from 30 to 90 days, although we find them to be pretty reliable germinators. Individuate seedlings to pots and grow on for a year or two before planting to landscape. For hedging, plant 2 feet apart. Otherwise, give at least 10 foot spacing between shrubs. 10 seeds per packet, Certified Organically Grown