Title: Aralia spinosa L.
Author: Connor, Kristina
Source: In: Francis, John K. ed. 2004. Wildland shrubs of the United States and its Territories: thamnic descriptions: volume 1. Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-GTR-26. San Juan, PR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry, and Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 40-42.
Description: Devil’s walking stick, also known as angelica tree, American angelica-tree, Hercules’ club, pigeon tree, pick tree, prickly ash, prickly elder, toothache bush, toothache tree, and shotbush, is a large, coarse textured shrub or small tree, ranging from 6 to 10 m in height. The sturdy, ash gray to brown stems have dense, stout prickles, and diameters to 15 cms are not uncommon. Devil’s walking stick is found in the eastern United States, from Pennsylvania south to Florida and west to Texas and southwestern Iowa. It has escaped from cultivation and thus can be found in New England, southern Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin, Oregon, Washington, and western Europe.This highly adaptable species grows best in well drained soils of low and moist woodlands but can be found growing in rocky, dry or clay soils and under a range of pH conditions. It grows luxuriantly on good sites but plants may live longer and be sturdier on poorer sites. Devil’s walking stick spreads extensively by vegetative reproduction from underground rhizomes. The first terminal inflorescences usually occur when plants are, on the average, 3.5 years old. The white to cream colored flowers are small, perfect, numerous, and occur in large clusters (umbels) in mid to late summer, depending on geographic area. The purple-black fruits, maturing in late fall, are produced in large quantities on pink-red stems. They are juicy, ovoid drupes up to 6.4 mm long with three to five seed-like stones. The species can be propagated from seed sown outdoors in fall or from suckers taken in late winter and root cuttings taken in late fall and overwintered upside down in sand. Stored seeds require 3 to 5 months stratification, followed by 1 to 4 months at 20oC for germination.
Keywords: species description, devil's walking stick, Aralia spinosa
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Connor, Kristina 2004. Aralia spinosa L. In: Francis, John K. ed. 2004. Wildland shrubs of the United States and its Territories: thamnic descriptions: volume 1. Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-GTR-26. San Juan, PR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry, and Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 40-42.
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