Alphabetical Plant Listing

Aralia spinosa (Devil's Walking Stick)

Devil's Walking Stick, Hercules Club, Angelica Tree, Pigeon Tree, Shotbush, Prickly Elder, Prickly Ash


Unique and tropical-looking, Aralia spinosa (Devil's Walking Stick) is a large, suckering, deciduous shrub or small tree with huge, divided, rich dark blue-green leaves, up to 5 ft. long (150 cm). Borne at the top of tall, upright, club-like branches, the compound leaves, with their numerous toothed leaflets, form an umbrella-like canopy. They may turn yellow, reddish or purplish in the fall. Topping the umbrella are prominent clusters of showy white flowers, 1-4 ft. tall (30-120 cm) in summer. They attract many pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and other insects. The blossoms are followed by showy purple-black berrylike fruits on bright pink fruiting stalks in the fall. Many bird species and mammals feast on them. Both stems and leaf stalks are armed with stout, sharp spines. Hardy, Devil's Walking Stick tolerates drought, heat, salt and seasonal flooding. It can be planted as a specimen, at the back of a shrub border or along woodland margins. Keep it away from walkways since the seriously sharp spines can be harmful.

  • Grows up to 10-20 ft. tall (300-600 cm) and 6-10 ft. wide (180-300 cm). Will spread by self-seeding and suckering to form thickets.
  • Thrives in full sun or part shade in neutral to acidic, moist, well-drained soils. Tolerates a wide range of soils, including rocky and clay soils. Tolerates drought and drier soils. Shelter from strong winds to protect the large leaves
  • It is a great candidate for shrub borders, woodland edges. Great for naturalizing.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Keep an eye out for leaf spots, aphids, mealybugs.
  • No pruning required. Promptly remove root suckers to prevent undesired colonies.
  • Propagate by seed, from suckers or by root cuttings. 
  • Native to the eastern United States.

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Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 9
Climate Zones 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 10' – 20' (3m – 6m)
Spread 6' – 10' (180cm – 3m)
Spacing 120" (300cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Northeast, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Southwest, Oklahoma, Texas
Tolerance Clay Soil, Drought, Salt
Attracts Birds
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

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Melissa McMasters (Flickr), JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University, Missouri Botanical Garden

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 9
Climate Zones 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 10' – 20' (3m – 6m)
Spread 6' – 10' (180cm – 3m)
Spacing 120" (300cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Northeast, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Southwest, Oklahoma, Texas
Tolerance Clay Soil, Drought, Salt
Attracts Birds
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

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