There are quite a few varieties to choose from (250 actually) but Zanthoxylum schinifolium and Z. simulans are the two most common varieties – if you have a choice the former is a bit more zingy than hot – depends which way you want to go. The leaves are rather a treat too – lovely to just crush as you pass between your fingers.
So, you’ve planted the tree – in the ground or in a pot – it is no trouble and is doing well – what next? All you need to do is harvest. This is best done as soon as the pinky red seedcases begin to open and show their dark seed – usually as summer turns to autumn. The outer shell is where the heat and aromatics are held (the seed is usually flavourless) but pick whole florets, leave them to dry somewhere warm for a day or two, and they should be ready to go into the peppermill.
Keep the rest in an a dry airtight container and feel justifiably satisfied at your home grown taste of exotica.