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

Registered/patented pecan by Foster W. Fort
August 01, 2010 - Hello, we own a historic house museum once owned by the Fort family of Waco, and have learned that Foster W. Fort developed a type of pecan tree and had an orchard somewhere here around Waco (possibly...
view the full question and answer

Edible forest garden for northern Minnesota
March 07, 2014 - I am planning an edible forest garden for northern Minnesota. Can you suggest a list of plants that are native to this area. We are in zone 3a or 3b. Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Need information about pruning Persimmon trees in Buda, TX.
November 29, 2010 - Mr. Smarty, We have many wild persimmon trees in our yard. Some I want prune to bush size. What is the best way to prune these trees and to what extent can they be safely pruned. Thank you for shari...
view the full question and answer

Heat tolerant arborvitae for Spring TX
September 20, 2012 - Is there an arborvitae that would be heat-tolerant to Spring, Texas (north of Houston) and amenable to neutral clay soil?
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in tulip tree in Cincinnati
October 02, 2009 - I planted a tulip tree sapling (3 feet tall at the time of planting) in May of this year and it sprouted! Unfortunately, I believe the top portion (nearly 2 feet) did not make it (the sapling only spr...
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