Aralia Spinosa - Devil’s Walking Stick
Also known as the devil’s walking stick, this deciduous tree is native to North America that can reach up to 8m tall. The trunk bears spines, giving it its name, and occasionally branches. Leaves are bipennate and can reach 120cm long. Both leaves, stems and petioles bear numerous prickles which harden as they age.
Please note handling the bark and roots may cause allergic skin reactions.
Panicles of small white flowers appear in the late summer, followed by black berries in the autumn, during which time the leaves also turn red touched with yellow, making them highly conspicuous and attractive.
The young leaves of the tree can be chopped finely and cooked as a potherb before the prickles harden. Its roots are fleshy but poisonous.
Fully hardy, it can withstand temperatures down to -15C, and prefers a moist soil and at least part shade.