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Devil’s walking stick

Aralia spinosa

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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 CharacteristicsHandling bark and roots may cause allergic skin reactions. Attracts birds. Thorns lend strong winter interest.

CareProvide 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.

PropagationThis plant is easy to start from seed, by division, or from root cuttings.

ProblemsGenerally trouble-free, but watch for leaf spots, aphids, and mealybugs. It may be somewhat invasive.

  • Genus : Aralia
  • Plant Height : 15 to 30 feet
  • Plant Width : 30 feet or more
  • Zones : 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Bloom Time : Early Summer, Late Summer, Summer
  • Growth Rate : Fast
  • Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Maintenance : Low
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Characteristics : Showy Fall Foliage, Showy Foliage, Showy Fruit
  • Plant Type : Shrubs
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Summer Interest
  • Flower Color : White

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