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Jenny Wright
Post     Subject: Szechuan pepper tree ( Zanthoxylum)

How are your trees doing, now years later?

I saw that a nursery a couple of hours from me has these in stock and since I use these for cooking, it would be fun to add to my food forest. I had no idea that they were hardy in my area. But it makes sense since Sichuan, China has freezing winters.

I was an exchange student there when I was in high school and thought I didn't like the flavor because I didn't like extremely spicy things. Only recently, I realized that the heat in Sichuan cooking doesn't come from the Sichuan peppercorn, just a wonderful flavor and a tingling/numb sensation.

Have you eaten the flowers or the leaves? I read that they are edible and delicious so now I want to try them!
J Grouwstra
Post     Subject: Szechuan pepper tree ( Zanthoxylum)

It's a couple of years futher on now , so I can give an update on my Zanthoxylum bungeanum.
An important question I had was: does it need a pollinator? Well, I do get some fruit now, but very little compared to the amount of blossom the tree had. So maybe a pollinator tree would improve this, or maybe local insects aren't familiar with this exotic tree and that's what's preventing a good pollination... I just don't know.
But I'm getting some pepper off it. Last year there were just a few fruits, maybe 3 or 4, which is almost nothing, this year it's over a dozen; still little, but it's going somewhere.

I should say I gave up the allotment where I had this tree and moved it to my home garden. It's darker here and that's a disadvantage - the tree isn't growing much anymore due to its new location, but at least it's staying healthy, and the replanting itself didn't set it back. But in a better location the yield would probably have been better as well.

I just tried one of the fruits, or I should say hulls of the fruit, because you take the hulls, not those shiny pearls - I'll try sowing them. I was pleasantly surprised; it does really taste like pepper, and there's also a strong citrus flavour present.
J Grouwstra
Post     Subject: Szechuan pepper tree ( Zanthoxylum)

I'm getting closer to learning more about my Szechuan pepper tree. The season starts late for this species, and it looked first like there still wouldn't be any bloom this year:



But if I'm taking a very hard look:



That was not easy to spot! I assume it'll continue development and get bigger. The nursery where I got the tree is assuring me it's self-pollinating, so could I get some pepper this year?
J Grouwstra
Post     Subject: Szechuan pepper tree ( Zanthoxylum)

I planted a Szechuan pepper tree last year, but I'm still unsure about what to expect. So I'd like to ask some questions here. It's not a Zanthoxylum simulans I've got, it's a Zanthoxylum bungeanum, but that's not a huge difference in botanical characteristics, I believe.

Firstly; is it really infertile on its own, like that Plants for a Future site says, meaning that I would need at least two plants, a male and a female, to get fruit? I've heard a report of the contrary, and also I would expect the nursery where I got the plant to tell me if there was a need for cross pollination.

Then... at what stage could I expect at least flowers? At the start of this year my plant was still small, it only consisted of two branches, but it grew well, it's now some four feet high, with many branches:



Any other experiences people may have with Zanthoxylum and would like to share I would be interested in as well, like how fast does it grow, how do you prune, do you find it a useful plant?  
r ranson
Post     Subject: Szechuan pepper tree ( Zanthoxylum)

Pepper tree harvest 2017.

It's been a poor year for them with a massively nasty winter and a sudden heat wave and drought.  I was worried about them in August as I thought they looked so sad and droopy but still I didn't water them. They are looking much better now.

None of the cuttings I took last year survived.  I haven't managed to grow any from seed yet either.  going to keep trying.  
r ranson
Post     Subject: Szechuan pepper tree ( Zanthoxylum)

These are what my Szechuan peppers look like right now.  I know the fruit(?) isn't red yet, but they were popping open and tossing out their seeds, so I thought I had better pick some.

Do I eat the seed part?

Now to experiment with growing the seeds.  I'm a bit worried about growing them in the greenhouse as the temperature fluctuates quite drastically during the day in the winter.  Cold at night, hot during the day.

Of the cuttings I took, a couple seems to have taken.  I think the weather was too hot for them, so I'll have to give it another go this fall.
Lance Kleckner
Post     Subject: Szechuan pepper tree ( Zanthoxylum)

if anything like the native prickly ash, suckers will be a good opportunity to increase them.   I don't have experience with this species yet, got my first plant this year, though already sprout seems to be coming up near the base, so looks like it may sucker like the prickly ashes that grow here.  

Root cuttings would seem easier than stem for this genus.  
r ranson
Post     Subject: Szechuan pepper tree ( Zanthoxylum)

cesca beamish wrote:I read that they carry diseases that affect citrus so seeds exported for culinary use have been treated. I tried to germinate some too with zero success.



I know some places had a restriction on them.  I think the US doesn't anymore.  We don't have a commercial citrus industry here, so I don't think Canada's ever had a restriction on these pepper trees.

plants for the future says

Propagation
Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Stored seed may requires up to 3 months cold stratification, though scarification may also help[113]. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Germination should take place in late spring, though it might take another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings, 3cm long, planted horizontally in pots in a greenhouse. Good percentage[78]. Suckers, removed in late winter and planted into their permanent positions[113].



It seems like a lot of tree seeds want to be sewn fresh.

We took some softwood, semi-hardwood and leave cuttings today.  Looking forward to seeing if any grow.
cesca beamish
Post     Subject: Szechuan pepper tree ( Zanthoxylum)

I read that they carry diseases that affect citrus so seeds exported for culinary use have been treated. I tried to germinate some too with zero success.
Rebecca Norman
Post     Subject: Szechuan pepper tree ( Zanthoxylum)

Ooh, I looked online for seeds of a hardy Zanthoxylum species last year, but couldn't find them anywhere. So then I planted some seeds from some spice I bought here, presumably grown in a neighboring country, so they're probably not as hardy as some I've heard of. No germination at all, though I may have done something wrong. Well, I'll be curious if you get any results.

Looks like a ferocious thorn, eh?
r ranson
Post     Subject: Szechuan pepper tree ( Zanthoxylum)

What are some of the ways I can increase the number of my Szechuan pepper trees
?

Seeds of course, but my trees are young and this is my first seed harvest.  I would love to take this chance to taste the seeds, if they ever mature.

What about cuttings?  The place where I got them propagated by cutting.  What kind of cutting would be right for this tree?  It's a good time of year for softwood cuttings, so I'll be giving that a go.  But I would also like to discover what the most successful method would be so I can try that as well.