The Florida native prickly ash is a small tree or shrub, commonly 5 - 10 feet tall, but as a tree may reach 20 feet. It has upright branches and an open crown with a vase or columnar shape. It takes its common name in part from its trunk and branches being armed with spines when young. Older trees have corky knobs on the trunk. The leaves are deciduous, bright green above, lighter green below, leathery, glossy, alternate, compound with 2 - 7 pairs of leaflets, but no terminal leaflet. Leaflets are oblong or oval, rounded, notched at the tip and 1 - 2 inches long. Leaves are aromatic when crushed. Male and female flowers on separate trees. Flowers borne in erect dense terminal clusters, 4 - 5 inches in length; blooms are yellow white to green in color, fragrant and tiny, about 1/16 inch long and attract insect pollinators. Fruits are borne in clusters, round, black, tiny, about 1/8 inch in diameter with a single black seed. Birds feed on the fruits and seeds are used for propagation. The yellow wood (=zanthoxylum) is of good quality. As a coastal plant, prickly ash prefers well-drained sand or limestone with some organic matter; they are hardy once established. With its attractive foliage, flowers and fruits, prickly ash is an excellent choice as a specimen, accent or native tree, especially in small areas. Because of its spines, it is not recommended along sidewalks. Wild populations of this tree in florida are endangered.