En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Identity of Hercules Club from Lathrup Village MI

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - October 12, 2009

From: Lathrup Village, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Identity of Hercules Club from Lathrup Village MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Thought the shrub was Hercules Club but when looked at photo on line, totally different leaf. Mine has palmate leaf rounded at the tips, spines that are short but substantial. Branches arch somewhat and summer color is medium to dark green hinted towards blue. Had a client from Yorkshire who told me it was Hercules Club and used it as natural fence/thicket.

ANSWER:

Common names often make Mr. Smarty Plant cross-eyed. Both Aralia spinosa (devil's walkingstick) and Zanthoxylum clava-herculis (Hercules' club) are native to North America but neither is native to Michigan. Zanthoxylum clava-herculis, in addition to Hercules Club, has the common names of toothache tree and tingle tongue. It grows in Texas and to the East Coast as far north as Virginia. Aralia spinos, in addition to Devil's walking stick, has the common names of Prickly Ash and Prickly Elder. Sometimes it also referred to as the "toothache tree," but apparently does not share with Zanthoxylum clava-herculis  the trait of numbing the mouth when the leaves are chewed. It is native from Texas to Maine.

As you can see from the pictures below, from our Image Gallery, neither plant has palmate leaves. If the person who identified your plant as Hercules Club was from Yorkshire, England she may have been referring to yet another tree bearing that common name, growing in England but not native to North America, and therefore not in our Native Plant Database. We did search on Google on the common name, but the only results were the two listed above.  If you would like for us to try to identify your tree, go to the Mr. Smarty Plants Plant Identification page, and follow the instructions to submit pictures and information, and we will attempt to figure out what it is.


Aralia spinosa

Aralia spinosa

Zanthoxylum clava-herculis

Zanthoxylum clava-herculis

 

 

More Trees Questions

Transplant shock in Chinkapin oak from Copperas Cove TX
June 18, 2012 - I have a newly planted chinkapin oak, appx 14' tall, in the Copperas Cove TX area. It has done great for the first two weeks. Now the leaves are yellowing (June) and beginning to dry up. I water it ...
view the full question and answer

Correction of tree name from Bay Point CA
October 16, 2013 - The tree should of been Mulberry don't know how it was changed!! Tuesday - October 15, 2013 From: Bay Point, CA Region: California Topic: Non-Natives, Cacti and Succulents, Trees Title: Non-...
view the full question and answer

Sudden death of one side of Mountain Laurel from Canyon Lake TX
July 22, 2013 - Hello! We live in Canyon Lake TX and have a Mountain Laurel that is in distress. It is planted in an irrigated flower bed and has been happily growing for 5 years. It is about 5' tall and has sever...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Colorado blue spruce in Indiana
August 16, 2005 - I live in Indiana. I have a Colorado blue spruce that I would like to transplant to a different part of my yard. What is the best time of year to transplant it? It is only about two foot tall.
view the full question and answer

Do I need to plant a male winterberry? yes
October 19, 2007 - I planted a female winterberry in early July & although I have been watering it regularly the leaves turned brown on the tips in Sept. No berries yet so will I have to plant a male? Thanks, Carol
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center