Monday, October 12, 2015

What is this growing in the back of my yard? Someone said it's a "Devil's Walking Stick."

Aralia spinosa - Devil's Walking Stick

Devil’s Walking Stick (Aralia spinosa) aka “Hercule’s Club” and “Angelica Tree” – is a mighty impressive native American plant. Six words – devil’s, stick, spinosa, Hercules, club and Angelica – should complete the picture. It grows in USDA climate zones 4-9 in slightly acidic to neutral soil with full to partial sun exposure.

There are some fascinating facts you should know about Aralia spinosa.
  • It should not be confused with False Aralia (Dizygotheca elegantissima) - pronounced "dizzygoTHEEKa" - though it might compare with the inelegant Dizzygoths some raise in their homes;
  • It is covered head-to-toe with nasty, fiery spines;
  • It is frightening, in its own way;
  • The name “Hercules Club” was probably given by some literate person who knew the awesome legend of Hercules and of the sculpture of Hercules with his club;
  • Species in the Angelica family often bear flowers with heavenly fragrances;
  • According to Wikipedia, “The sprinkling of it all around the outside of the home is meant for protection”;
  • If you cultivate Aralia spinosa around the perimeter of your garden, few trespassers will dare to enter;
  • Aralia spinosa is maintenance-free, needing no pruning;
  • Dizzygoths, however, should be pruned low and very often.

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