Devil’s Walking Stick Facts
- First of all, many who encounter it consider the Devil’s Walking Stick to be appropriately named. The scientific name of the fascinating, if intimidating species, however, is Aralia spinosa.
- For unknown reasons, it shares several other common names with an unrelated species. This, rather understandably, often causes confusion. However, the two species do share certain natural properties.
- These natural properties include the presence of naturally effective medicinal characteristics. During the American Civil War, doctors discovered its usefulness in preventing infections in battle wounds.
- Finally, and surprisingly, despite the fearsome appearance, the leaves of the Devil’s Walking Stick remain edible. While actually highly nutritious, these must be collected during infancy.
Devil’s Walking Stick Physical Description
Most notably, the Devil’s Walking Stick actually develops as either a large deciduous shrub or a small tree. Quite understandably, this adaptive versatility separates it from the great majority of related species.
Firstly, when it develops as a tree, the species attains a maximum height of about 26 ft (8 m). Meanwhile, the trunk of the plant remains relatively thin. As a result, this attains a maximum diameter of only 8 in (20 cm), even in its tree form.
Yet, the thorns for which it is renowned average a daunting 1/2 half in (1.25 cm) long. Further, the large and aromatic leaves grow as large as an impressive 47 in (120 cm) in length. Also, all of them possess those terrible thorns.
Its flowers also display a creamy white color and remain small, yet develop in large clusters. Finally, the fruit forms a small berry, purple to black in color, and also appears in large groupings.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Tracheophytes
- Class: Angiosperms
- Order: Apiales
- Family: Araliaceae
- Genus: Aralia
- Species: A. spinosa
Devil’s Walking Stick Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Firstly, though not commonly seen, the Devil’s Walking Stick seems quite widespread in its zone of habitation. In addition, that range lies within limited portions of the eastern and midwest United States.
Further, the species typically only grows naturally along the edges of forests. This, as a result, greatly reduces the chances of humans encountering its thorns. The Devil’s Walking Stick also only develops well in deep, moist soil.
Historically, the local Native Americans also highly prized the formidable plant, for specific purposes. In fact, the Iroquois tribe often planted it around the village as a deterrent to animal incursions.
Additionally, the same tribes also used the fruit of the remarkable plant in a variety of traditional dishes. In addition, the women often wore the strongly lemon-scented flowers in their hair.