The packaging for the peppers just states that they have been dried and they don't look like they have been processed much.


The only way to answer this is to plant the seeds and see if anything grows. Cherimoya seeds readily yield little trees, and whole spice-bought corriander seed turns into cilantro nicely when you plant it. Be aware that Szechuan pepper grows to 7 meters. You can trim it though. In more temperate parts of the world, you can purchase already sprouted trees from garden stores, and grow them in your home or back yard.


I didn't manage to grow the plants from the seeds. I even tried putting a few in the freezer overnight without any joy.

  • It's nice that you could answer your own question based on your experience. Thank you. However, I would love more details. How many seeds did you try? How long did you leave them in the freezer? What were the germination conditions? – Patrick B. Nov 23 '15 at 14:11
  • Hi Patrick, I was trying with about 5-10 seeds. The first lot I just put in tissue paper which I kept moist for a few weeks without any joy. I then tried putting a few in the freezer for a couple of nights and then tried leaving them in moist tissue paper again but without any success. – Mark Nov 23 '15 at 18:36
  • Just edit the question instead of making a comment please. – Patrick B. Nov 23 '15 at 18:38
  • You might try a fridge rather than the freezer. The plant is native to southern India, so cold probably means low 40's °F rather than 0°F. – Wayfaring Stranger Jan 31 '16 at 16:48

Legally, only heat-processed seeds are allowed to be sold in the US. It's because they are in the Citrus family and could potentially carry pathogens and affect the citrus industry in the US. See U.S. import ban section: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sichuan_pepper However I've seen what appear to be un-processed seeds in some Asian Markets. It's really hard to tell. In addition they may require stratification (cold, wet, treatment) to sprout. http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Zanthoxylum+simulans They are available as plants - look up the species Zanthoxylum simulans or related Zanthoxylum species. I've mail-ordered them from a nursery in Oregon.

  • Thanks Eric. Looking at the stratification process in more detail it seems that I should try keep the seeds just above freezing and for between one and three months (my keeping it in the freezer overnight was probably not good enough then.) – Mark Nov 23 '15 at 18:39

Yes, stratifying is cold (not freezing), wet, treatment. I put them in a re-close-able bag with moist perlite (or vermiculite, but you can't see the seeds as easily). I put some perlite in a bag, add water then pour out through a partly closed seal all the water I can, and add the seeds. I also use plastic petri dishes and tape them closed (these stack nicely in the fridge). Then just put in the fridge. Don't let them freeze when wet or you may kill them. Some species actually sprout in the fridge (so check occasionally), others not until you plant them and they get exposed to warmth. I'm a bit skeptical that these need 3 months treatment (being native in zone 7-9 conditions). You might plant some at different stages.

  • Oh, and they may actually have been heat treated and thus dead... It's nearly impossible to tell. – Eric Deloak Nov 23 '15 at 18:51

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