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Aralia spinosa: Devil's Walkingstick

Isaac Hill

Joined: Feb 28, 2011
Posts: 354
Location: Beaver County, Pennsylvania (~ zone 6)
So I'm in love with this tree. I saw a grove of it in bloom and then again when the leaves were turning late last summer and I'm hooked. I researched it a lot to try to see if I could come up with enough functions to merit putting it in my Forest Garden. So far I have:

Beneficial flowers - These things are much more intense than umbels or even elder flowers. So many insects are buzzing around them it has to be beneficial.
Edible leaves - a decent potherb, it's always good to have perennial greens!
Medicinal properties - it's sort of pretty specific, but there are some medicinal properties to the bark, the root and maybe the fruit (though they're poisonous if you eat too much.)
Bamboo type wood uses? - I.E. trellises and such like things
BEAUTIFUL AS SHIT - n'uff said

From wikipedia: "This tree was admired by the Iroquois because of its usefulness, and for its rarity. The Iroquois would take the saplings of the tree and plant them near their villages and on islands, so that animals wouldn't eat the valuable fruit. The fruit was used in many of the natives' foods. The women would take the flowers and put them in their hair because of the lemony smell. The flowers could also be traded for money."

So it's an understory tree, has very thin trunks and very, very big leaves that are actually doubly compound and are very interesting and exotic, but it's native to Appalachia, where I live.

Has anybody grown this or used it before? Think I have enough reasons to plant it?


"To oppose something is to maintain it" -- Ursula LeGuin
Thelma McGowan

Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 170
Location: western Washington, Snohomish county--zone 8b
We have one of these pretty trees. It is really beautiful in the fall. The branches ar very pokey. they could work very well as a barier or fence line. I have never eaten the fruit or leaves.
the tree has an umbrella like shape and in the fall looses most of its mass. so it is a good shade provider in the summer and lets all the light in during winter. The wood is spongy and brittle, it grows realy slow and i don't think it would be good for harvesting branches. it does like to spread under ground as well. we keep it mowed under the the tree so it does not spread.

There are no experts, Just people with more experience.
subject: Aralia spinosa: Devil's Walkingstick