Common Prickly Ash (Xanthoxylum americanum) has “Ash” in the name but is more closely related to a lemon or orange than the ash tree that we plant on boulevards or in landscapes. Natives and early settlers would chew the bark of this stout shrubby tree to cure toothaches because of the numbing effect of the chemicals found in it’s cambium. How to identify this plant: Once you have entered a wooded area in the central/eastern US you will notice that your clothes are ripped and blood is beginning to soak through them. Turn around. If you see a thicket of 1-2.5 m tall shrubby trees that have ½ to 1 cm long prickles and ash-like compound leaves – that, my friend, is Prickly Ash.