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Oplopanax horridus (Devil's club)
Glase, Terry

Oplopanax horridus

Oplopanax horridus (Sm.) Miq.

Devil's Club, Devilsclub

Araliaceae (Ginseng Family)

Synonym(s): Echinopanax horridus, Fatsia horrida

USDA Symbol: opho

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N)

A sparsely branched, somewhat rangy shrub with giant maplelike leaves and crooked, pithy, canelike stems with long, stiff, yellow thorns. Devilís Club is a conspicuous understory shrub in boggy places within the Northwest coastal forest, where it makes off-trail travel difficult or impossible. The barbed thorns inflict unpleasant wounds and were long thought to be tipped with poison. Nevertheless, the plant is a beautiful, or at least unusual, component of the forest understory. Its giant leaves are adaptations to the dim light of its environment.


From the Image Gallery

12 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 10 feet tall.
Fruit: Red

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul


USA: AK , ID , MI , MT , OR , WA
Canada: AB , BC , ON , YT
Native Distribution: Alaska south in coastal forests to Oregon, east to both slopes of the Cascade Range, Idaho, Montana, Michigan, and Ontario.
Native Habitat: Wet, swampy places in shady forest.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet


Use Wildlife: Bright red, flattened, shiny berries in August and September are a favourite of bears.
Use Other: Native Americans dried and pulverized the bark for use as a deodorant. Certain tribes made a reddish cosmetic paint by mixing burned stems with grease. Believing that Devilís Club had magical powers, Northwest Coast Indians made charms from its wood and tied bits of bark onto fish hooks to increase the chances of a large catch.
Interesting Foliage: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

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.

Web Reference

Webref 62 - Burke Herbarium Image Collection (2020) University of Washington
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Oplopanax horridus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Oplopanax horridus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Oplopanax horridus


Record Modified: 2023-05-29
Research By: TWC Staff

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