Devil's walking stick

Aralia spinosa

Photo/Illustration: 
Virginia Ducey, courtesy of www.plantdelights.com
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Devil's walking stick (Aralia spinosa)
ah-RAY-lee-ah spin-OH-sah
Genus:  Aralia
The textural quality of this eastern native's stems and foliage is superb. During winter, a circle of the thorn-covered stems is as magical as an outdoor sculpture. Dark blue-green compound leaves offer a tropical effect before turning yellow and purple in autumn. One-foot-wide flower clusters sit atop the foliage in summer and transform into purple-black fruits that attract birds. Aralia spinosa grows to 30 feet tall and spreads indefinitely.
Noteworthy Characteristics:  Handling bark and roots may cause allergic skin reactions. Attracts birds. Thorns lend strong winter interest.
Care:  Provide full sun to part shade and moist, but well drained-soil. Plant in an area where contact with the thorns is unlikely. Promptly remove suckers to prevent unwanted naturalization.
Propagation:  This plant is easy to start from seed, by division, or from root cuttings.
Problems:  Generally trouble-free, but watch for leaf spots, aphids, and mealybugs. It may be somewhat invasive.

Overview

Height
15 ft. to 30 ft.
Spread
Over 30 ft.
Growth Habit
Spreads
Growth Pace
Fast Grower
Light
Full Sun to Part Shade
Moisture
Medium Moisture
Maintenance
Low
Characteristics
Native,
Showy Fall Foliage,
Showy Flowers,
Showy Foliage,
Showy Fruit
Bloom Time
Early Summer,
Late Summer,
Summer
Flower Color
White
Uses
Beds and Borders,
Naturalizing
Style
Woodland Garden
Seasonal Interest
Summer Interest
Type
Shrubs

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