Arbustos o árboles, 2–12 m de alto, sometimes decumbent, troncos y ramas armadas con acúleos, ramitas usually with numerous downward hooking spines, short-shoots sometimes present, ca 1 mm long, but usally elongating into lateral branches, with notable zig-zag growth form; apical bud 0.3-1 mm wide, puberulent; ramitas 1-1.2 mm wide, puberulent, eventually glabrous. Hojas alternately evenly distributed (or rarely apically from short-shoots), imparipinnadas, 4-9 cm de largo, rachis winged 3-10 mm wide; folíolos 5 or 7, lateral folíolos obovados, 1-5 cm de largo y 0.6-2.7 cm de ancho, ápice obtuso- or rounded-emarginate, base truncate or inaequilateral acute and rounded or truncate, margen crenulado, usually with pair of glandular teeth at base 0.15-3 mmde largo folded over abaxial surface, puberulent on midrib at least at base, chartaceous, 3-5 pairs of secondary veins, sessile or petioule to 0.6 mm de largo. Simple or once-branched spikes, terminal and axilares, 1-3 cm de largo, rachis terete, puberulent; flowers sessile, 4-merous, sépalos ovate, 1/3 length of pétalos,minutely ciliate (or also puberulent on surface), persistent; pétalos 1.3-1.7 mm de largo; carpels 2. Folículos 1 (or 2), usually with scar of lost developing folículo, or aborted folículo retained, libres, 3.5-5 mm de largo, glabrous, stipe 1-2 mm de largo; seed 3-4 mm de largo.
Común, bosques secos a húmedos, zona norcentral; 100–1200 m; fl dic–feb, may, fr feb, may, jul–oct; Moreno 22956, Stevens 22263; Guatemala a Perú. "Chinche". This species was treated in the printed Flora de Nicaragua as Z. culantrillo. Please see discussion below that species. Reynel (1995) utilized a very wide concept for Zanthoxylum fagara, within that recognizing (but not publishing) three subspecies. We place here under Z. fagara those collections that would correspond to the autonym.
Shrubs or small trees to 10 m high; branchlets zigzagged, reddish brown, becoming light gray, minutely puberulent to glabrate, more or less angled, some- times ridged between the nodes, armed with paired, subulate, recurved, sharp, dark, minutely puberulent, deciduous, pseudostipular prickles 2-6 mm long. Leaves odd-pinnate, 4-9 cm long, 2-4 cm wide; petiole and rachis winged, cana- liculate above, more or less minutely appressed puberulent to glabrate, the petiole 11-24 mm long, ca. 2 mm wide, the rachis 3-6 mm wide; leaflets 5-7, opposite to subopposite, obovate to broadly elliptic, acute to rounded and retuse apically, inequilateral and cuneate basally, the margins crenulate and revolute, the blade pellucid punctate marginally at the bases of the crenulations, membranaceous to subcoriaceous, sparingly minutely appressed puberulent to glabrate, 9-35 mm long, 6-21 mm wide, the lowest pair smallest, sessile to short petiolulate, the terminal leaflet decurrent to the rachis. Panicles axillary, spikelike, minutely puberulent, to 2 cm long. Staminate flowers subsessile; sepals 4, broadly obovate, ca. 1 mm long; petals 4, obovate; stamens 4, less than 1 mm long. Carpellate flowers with the pedicels to 1 mm long in fruit; sepals 4, broadly obovate, ca. 1 mm long; petals 4, obovate; carpels 2, sessile, connate basally, ca. 1 mm long. Follicles 1, obovoid, brownish, roughened, with brownish punctations, glabrous, ca. 5 mm in diameter, short stipitate, the stipe 2 mm long.