Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Devil's walking stick



Devil's walking stick, Aralia spinosa.

I grabbed onto one of these on a steep trail once, and really wished I hadn't. Floridata calls it "one of the most viciously spiny things in the vegetable kingdom".

Since then I've been a lot more aware of them. But until I looked up the latin name just now, I didn't realize that this was the same plant I'd been trying to identify since the spring.

Before the leaves fell off, and also when in bloom, it reminded me of an oversized elderberry. (But prettier, really -- click the top link.)

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Edited to correct a typo. Too anal to let it stand once I'd noticed it. Sorry sorry sorry.

11 comments:

Kerri said...

Ouch! Looks like that would really hurt!

Love your shot of the geese too. I love geese, they way the honk flying over...one of my favorite sounds of Fall.

mon@rch said...

now that is something that I suggest you don't grab ahold of! WOW

http://monarchbfly.com

edifice rex said...

Hey, but did you know that Devil's Walking stick is a good remedy for a toothache? You chew one of the smaller, more tender shoots that has not developed the spikes.

Dave Bonta, very pissed off at Blogger for eliminating weblink ability said...

Same genus as wild sarsparilla and spikenard, closely related to Panax genus (ginseng), and one of my favorite trees. We call it Hercules' club up here. Its triply-compound leaves are enormous, and it produces prodigious quantities of blossoms and berries, so it's very good for wildlife. Waxwings and other birds like to get drunk on the fermented berries, so it feeds the hawks, too. :)

Rurality said...

Kerri, yep, it did! Thanks.

Tom, yeah I should have been paying better attention.

Annie, I did notice that one source called it the toothache tree. (Another place warned that certain parts are toxic, but it must be like Poke if the shoots are ok.)

Dave, sorry for Blooger being mean to you. I think it's trying to take retribution on all non-bloogers for stupid reason. Anyway, it's funny to think of this plant as related to ginseng! I never would have guessed. I did notice the large amount of berries... kind of like elderberries on steroids.

City Girl said...

These grow all up and down I65, don't they? If this is the plant I'm thinking of, they are BEAUTIFUL in autumn. Almost as pretty as poke weed. :o)

Rurality said...

You are probably thinking of elderberries! They look a lot alike, and they grow by the highways.

anne said...

Tis indeed a beautiful - if dangerous! - plant! I've always wanted to see one "in real life," having only ever seen them in my field guides.

I love your photos.

Also - I linked to you without asking first. I hope that's ok.

Best to you!

Bobby said...

Ouchy. That'd rip you good.

KFarmer said...

Whoa~ I'd hate to think of anyone grabbing a hold of that!

btw, I caught up on your blog and as usual, loved every post. I was really impressed with your musical instruments. My son is the same and is presently learning to play as he calls it~ the fiddle. :)

lisa said...

LOVE this plant/bush/tree! Mine is still quite small, but I'm looking forward to formidable status one day.