The Sichuan Pepper is actually the lemon-flavored, numbing berry of the Prickly Ash Tree (Zanthoxylum simulans).
Sichuan Peppers cause a numbing and tingling or “buzzing” on the tongue. This effect is created by a substance in the berries called hydroxy-α-sanshool.
The term “sanshool” comes from the Japanese term for the Japanese pepper, sanshō (山椒) (literally, mountain pepper).
Flavor-wise, the berries have notes of pepper, lemon, and wood.
Here is a list of other Zanthoxylum berries around the world:
- Sansho or Japanese Mountain Pepper (Zanthoxylum piperitum)
- Korean Prickly Ash or Mastic-Leaf Prickly Ash (Zanthoxylum schinifolium)
- Majiao 麻椒 (Zanthoxylum bungeanum) – berry is used in Chinese remedies
- Andaliman Wild Pepper, batak (Zanthoxylum acanthopodium) — from Sumatra, Indonesia — notes of lime and mandarin
- Triphal (Zanthoxylum rhetsa) — from coastal India rainforest — lingering bitter notes
- Timur Berry (Zanthoxylum armatum) — from Nepal — has distinct notes of grapefuit
- American Prickly Ash (Zanthoxylum americanum) — from the United States
- Hercules’ Club (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis) — from the United States
- Canadian Prickly-Ash (Zanthoxylum americanum Miller) — from Canada
- Mah Kwan pepper — from Northern Thailand
- Mah Khaen pepper — from Northern Laos
- Small Knobwood Tree (Zanthoxylum capense)– from South Africa
- Senegal prickly-ash (Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides) — from Western Africa
- Hairy Chopi or Teol Chopi -a Zanthoxylum piperitum variety — f. pubsescens (Nakai) W. T. Lee, is called teol chopi (털초피) in Korea
- Asakura zanshō — another variety of Zanthoxylum piperitum var. inerme Makino