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Devil's Walkingstick

Scientific Name: Aralia Spinosa

Family: Araliaceae

Other Names: Hercules’s Club, Prickly Ash

Herbarium Image: Here


Deciduous shrub or small tree, 10-20ft in height with prickles; leaves alternate, 2-pinnately divided; The Devils walkingstick has small, 5-petaled, white flowers (to 1/8” across) bloom in huge, terminal, umbellose panicles (to 24” long) in July–August. The flowers are showy and atracts bees. The flowers are followed by clusters of fleshy, spherical, black drupes that ripen in late August-October. 

Traditional Medicinal Use

Haliwa-Saponi use parts of the tree in salve for treating severe burns and skin disorders. In Appalachian folk medicine, the tree is used to as a remedy for rheumatism and used to treat boils. (1) Traditionally used by the Cherokee as a treatment for colic, flatulence, rheumatism and toothache and the sap was used to treat paralysis.  (2) The plant is listed in the United States Pharmacopeia from 1820-1882 as a stimulant and diuretic.

Doctor Holding Patient's Hand

No available information

Several Open Books

1. Garrett, J.T.  (2003) The Cherokee Herbal.  Bear & Company, Rochester, Vermont

2. Hamel, P.  and Chiltoskey, M. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses -- A 400 Year History. 1975, Sylva, N.C.: Herald Publishing Co.

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