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Aralia spinosa L.
Devil's walkingstick, Devil's walking-stick, Prickly Ash, Hercules club, Angelica tree
USDA Symbol: ARSP2
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
A large, few-stemmed shrub,12-15 ft., can reach 20 ft. Each spring it shoots up a tall stem covered with orange prickles. Enormous, divided, spiny leaves at the top of the stem can be 3-4 ft. long and just as wide. Topping the umbrella of leaves are 1-4 ft. tall clusters of whitish flowers. Black fruits on bright pink fruiting stalks crown the plant in fall.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Root Type: Tap Leaf Complexity: Bipinnate Leaf:
Green Autumn Foliage:
Black 1/2 inch Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug
, WV Native Distribution: FL
to e. TX,
n. to NY
& Ohio R. valley; naturalized northward Native Habitat:
Open woods; thickets; flood plains; rocky pastures
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Moist, well-drained, fertile to poor soils. pH tolerant. Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam.
Conditions Comments: Colonizes freely by rhizomes and suckers. These can be dug out, but A. spinosa is still far too aggressive for small spaces. A pioneering species in the wild, this plant often disappears as the forest develops around it.
Showy, Attractive, Fall conspicuous, Fast growing, Accent tree
or shrub. Occasionally planted in the Victorian era as a grotesque ornamental. Use Wildlife:
Seeds are favored by birds; leaves are browsed by deer. Nectar-insects, Nectar-butterflies, Nectar-bees, Browse, Fruit-birds Use Medicinal:
The aromatic spicy roots and fruit
were used by early settlers in home remedies, including a cure for toothaches. Conspicuous Flowers:
Use one of the following methods for propagation: fresh seed sown in fall or stratified seed sown in spring; dormant root cuttings stored in cool, damp sand until spring; and/or transplanting of suckers. Seed Collection:
Seed is mature when outer covering of nutlet is hard and brittle. This may be before the fruit
pulp has darkened. Clean seeds immediately to avoid fermentation. Plant or stratify immediately. Seed Treatment:
Stratification is for 30-60 days at 41 degrees. Commercially Avail:
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Record Last Modified: 2013-09-07
Research By: TWC Staff