What is the plant
Zanthoxylum martinicense is a fairly fast-growing, evergreen tree with a thin, spreading crown; it can reach a height of up to 20 metres. The bole can be up to 45cm in diameter. Both bole and branches are armed with thick, conical spines.
The tree is harvested from the wild for its wood.
Zanthoxylum martinicense, the Martinique prickly ash, white pricklyash, or espino rubial, is an evergreen tree with pinnately compound leaves and thick conical spines on its bark. It grows up to 20 m tall. Male and female flowers are on separate trees. The flower clusters (panicles) are terminal and much branched, bearing many almost stalkless flowers.
West Indies and northern South America including Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.
Moist areas in limestone based soils in full sun.Typical of lowland forests in the Puerto Rican moist forest ecoregion.
The heartwood is creamy to light brown, sometimes with a pronounced greenish blue; it is not readily distinguished from the lighter coloured sapwood. The wood is lustrous; fine and straight-grained; medium to fine textured; with a rancid odour when freshly worked. It is moderately heavy and hard; is not believed to be durable in contact with the ground, although specific information as to its vulnerability to decay is not available; very susceptible to dry-wood
termites, pinhole borers, and other insects. The wood works easily with either hand or power tools but produces only fair to poor results in most operations; torn grain and coarse fuzziness are common in shaping and turning; tearing and crushing are troublesome in boring and mortising; and considerable scratching and fuzziness occur in sanding unless a very fine abrasive paper is used. However, the wood has good resistance to screw splitting. Because of its plain appearance, difficulties in seasoning, and only fair working qualities, the wood is best suited for boxes, crates, general carpentry, low-grade furniture, light construction, concrete forms, and similar uses. However, with
considerable care in seasoning and machining, the better grades of this species could be used for interior trim, doors, window frames, and other types of interior construction. It might also be suitable for utility veneer and core stock.
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