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Aralia spinosa

Pronunciation: Uh-rail-ee-uh spy-no-suh
Family: Araliaceae
Common Name: Devil's walking stick, prickly ash, prickly elder, angelica tree, pigeon tree, shotbush
Plant Type:
  • trees, shrubs
  • perennial
Height to: 20'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • -10 to -20ºF ZONE 5
  • 0 to -10ºF ZONE 6
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
Bloom Description: Huge clusters of little white flowers appear at the ends of the branches in mid to late summer. In early to mid fall, they are followed by showy masses of 1/4 in (0. 6 cm) purple black berries on burgundy stems.
Plant Perks:
  • Medicinal
  • Drought Tolerant
Propagation: Seeds should be sown in a coldframe as soon as ripe for spring germination. Stored seed will require stratification for 3-5 months, followed by 1-4 months at 68f (20 c) for germination. Three inch (7. 6 cm) root cuttings can be taken in the late fall, overwintered upside down in sand, then potted up in the spring. Suckers transplant easily, especially in late winter.
Native to: Devil's walking stick comes from the eastern united states, where it grows in open woodlands and in clearings and along forest edges. This species likes disturbed areas. In the wild, populations expand into clearings and decline when the forest overstory gets thick again.
Notes for Identification:

Source: floridata - devil's walking stick is used in the landscape as an accent plant or for tropical effects. The bark, roots, and berries were used for medicinal purposes by both indians and early settlers. The bark was administered as a purgative and the berries were employed in pain killing preparations. Various parts of the plant have been used to treat boils, fever, toothache, cholera, eye problems, skin conditions, snakebite, and venereal disease. The flowers of devil's walking stick must really pump out the nectar in the late afternoons, because that's when they are absolutely covered with honeybees. The berries are valuable as food for birds, black bears, and other wildlife.  this is one of the most viciously spiny things in the vegetable kingdom! You can plant it under a vulnerable window to deter burglars or use it as a living fence in place of barbed wire. Between its sinister spines and the way bonelike leaf stems and midribs pile up around the base as it sheds its leaves, there is something downright spooky about this plant. Plant it along the edge of the woods next to where you pile your halloween pumpkins. This species can be both poisonous and invasive. The raw berries are mildly toxic if ingested. Contact with the bark or roots can cause brief skin irritation. Devil's walking stick is not a rampant invader, but it will send new shoots out into surrounding plantings. These can be difficult to remove, since the spines are so hard and sharp that you can't get a good grip on the plant even with heavy gloves. Care: devil's walking stick is happiest in a good deep loam, but it will grow well on rocky, sandy, or clayey soils and is tolerant of a wide ph range. Growth is luxuriant on rich sites, but the plants tend to be sturdier and live longer on relatively poor soil. Occasional mowing, cutting, or prescribed burning will result in vigorous new growth. Margined blister beetles may defoliate the plants early in the fall. Devil's walking stick will not tolerate extended flooding or long term desert like dryness, but it grows well on a full range of mesic sites, from low spots that are constantly moist with seepage to extremely well-drained hillsides which dry out thoroughly during droughts.

a caterpillar host plant for: the holly blue

Seed photo: 1
Seed Label: 0
Located in: Trees, Shrubs
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