Aralia spinosa

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Devil's Walkingstick


Plant Specifics

Size:8-12 ft tall.
Life Span:Long-lived perennial
Flower Color:White
Fruit Color:Purple,black
Phenology:Deciduous. Blooms in spring. Fruit ripe in fall.
Noted for:Showy flowers, Showy fruits, Thorns


Recommended Uses:Specimen plant or background hedge.
Considerations:When its huge triply compound leaves are shed in the fall, only the main thorny stem is left standing through the winter months--hence the name devil's walking stick. In the right situation, it can sucker aggressively.
Propagation:Seed, division.
Availability:FNPS plant sales
Light: Full Sun,  Part Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Somewhat moist, no flooding ----- to ----- Not wet but not extremely dry)
Moisture Tolerance: Somewhat moist, no flooding ----- to ----- Not wet but not extremely dry
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Tolerant of occasional/brief inundation such as can occur in storm surges.
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:Moderate. Tolerant of salty wind and may get some salt spray. Exposure to salt spray would be uncommon (major storms).
Soil or other substrate:Sand
Soil pH:Acidic to neutral



Birds and small mammals consume the fruit. Birds include nuthatches, orioles, chickadees, titmice, and warblers.


Attracts butterflies and bees.  Documented bee species include Colletes mandibularis, Hylaeus confluens, Augochlora pura, Coelioxys dolichos, C. texana, Megachile mendica, M. xylocopoides, and Epeolus zonatus (Deyrup et al. 2002).

Native Habitats:The edges of dry hammocks and dry hardwood forests.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
8A 8B 9A 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures


Ethnobotany:The aromatic spicy roots and fruit were used by early settlers in home remedies, including a cure for toothaches.
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