Xanthoxylum

Definitions

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Xanthoxylum (Bot) A genus of prickly shrubs or small trees, the bark and rots of which are of a deep yellow color; prickly ash.☞ The commonest species in the Northern United States is Xanthoxylum Americanum. See Prickly ash, under Prickly.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n xanthoxylum A genus of plants, of the order Rutaceæ, type of the tribe Xanthoxyleæ. It is characterized by alternate pinnate leaves, hy polygamous flowers with from three to flve imbricate or in-duplicate petals and three to five stamens, and by a fruit of one to flve somewhat globose and commonly two-valved carpels. There are about 110 species, widely distributed through tropical and warm regions; nearly 50 occur in Brazil, many others in the West Indies, Mexico, and Central America, and 5 in the United States. They are trees or shrubs, sometimes armed with straight or recurved prickles. The leaves are commonly odd-pinnate, rarely reduced to one to three leaflets; the leaflets are entire or crenate, oblique, and pellucid-dotted. The flowers are small, usually white or greenish, commonly in crowded axillary and terminal panicles. The fruit is usually aromatic and pungent, with a glandular-dotted pericarp. The bark, especially that of the roots, is powerfully stimulant and tonic, and often used for rheumatism, to excite salivation, and as a cure for toothache; it contains a bitter principle (berberine) and a yellow coloring matter; in the West Indies it is esteemed an antisyphilitic. Three species in the United States are small trees, of which X. cribrosum (X. Caribæum) is the satinwood of Florida, the West Indies, and the Bermudas, its wood, used in the manufacture of small articles, having at first the odor of true satinwood. X. Fagara (X. Pterota) is the wild lime of Florida and western Texas, extending also through) Mexico to Brazil and Peru, and has been also known as Fagara Pterota and F. lentiscifolia; in southern Florida it is one of the most common of small trees, often a tall slender shrub; it produces a hard heavy reddish-brown wood, known as savin or ironwood in the West Indies. (See wildlime, under lime.) X. emarginatum (X. sapindoides), known as licca-tree or lignum-rorum in the West Indies, and exported thence under the name of rosewood, also extends to Florida, where it is a shrub with coriaceous shining leaves. The 2 other species of the United States are known as toothache-tree and as prickly-ash (which see); of these X. Americanum is a shrub found from Massachusetts and Virginia to Minnesota and Kansas, and X. Clava-Herculis is a small tree ranging from Virginia southward, also known as pepperwood. For X. Caribæum, see prickly yellow-wood, under yellow-wood. The other species of the West Indies are there known in general as yellow-wood and as fustic, several producing a valuable wood; in Jamaica X. coria-cea is also known as yellow mastwood, and X. spinifex as ram-goat (which see); in Australia X. brachyacanthum is used for cabinet-work; in Cape Colony X. Capense is known as knobwood (which see); 6 other woody species occur in the Hawaiian Islands, all there known as heaë. The fruit of many tropical species is used as a condiment and also medicinally, as X. piperitum, the Japanese pepper, and X. schinifolium (X. Mantschuricum), the anise-pepper of China. The Chinese bitter pepper, or star-pepper, X. Daniellii, is now referred to the genus Evodia. X. nitidum is in China a valued febrifuge, and X. alatum a sudorific and anthelmintic; the leaves of the latter are used as food for silkworms, its fruit in India as a condiment, and its seeds as a fish-poison.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Xanthoxylum zan-thok′si-lum a genus of the Rutaceæ, comprising over one hundred species, of which many are found in Brazil and the West Indies—the Prickly Ash or Toothache-tree.
    • ***

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
NL., from Gr. xanqo`s yellow + xy`lon wood
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Formed from Gr. xanthos, yellow, xylon, wood.

Usage

In literature:

XANTHOXYLUM, L. PRICKLY ASH.
"The Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States" by Asa Gray
***