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Hercules Club Zanthoxylum clava-herculis
2009-06-17 12:23:44

Hercules' Club (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis), also known as Pepperwood, Southern Prickly Ash, and other common names, is a species of shrub native to the southeastern United States. This tree is also called Z. macrophyllum. It is commonly nicknamed "toothache tree" or "tingle tongue" because of the numbness to the mouth, teeth and tongue it induces when the leaves or bark is chewed on. The...

Word of the Day
humgruffin
  • A terrible or repulsive person.
Regarding the etymology of 'humgruffin,' the OED says (rather unhelpfully) that it's a 'made-up word.' We might guess that 'hum' comes from 'humbug' or possibly 'hum' meaning 'a disagreeable smell,' while 'gruffin' could be a combination of 'gruff' and 'griffin.'