Aralia spinosa

From Coastal Plain Plants Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Aralia spinosa
Aral spin.jpg
Photo by James H. Miller & Ted Bodner, Southern Weed Science Society,
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Order: Apiales
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Aralia
Species: A. spinosa
Binomial name
Aralia spinosa
ARAL SPIN dist.jpg
Natural range of Aralia spinosa from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common names: Devil's walking stick; Hercules’s-club; Prickly-ash

Taxonomic notes


Perennial shrub or small tree, can grow up to 8ft tall. Has very coarse prickly stems and leaves, and can be alternate or solitary, petiolate. The leaves are decompound. The leaflets are elliptic or ovate, and an grow up to 13cm long and 7cm wide, they’re glabrous or glabrate, acute to caudate, serrate, base oblique, rounded, or cuneate, petiolulate. The racemes and panicles are umbels in structure. The panicle terminal is large with main branches grow up to 6dm long, all branches and pedicels are pubescent. There are numerous flower, pedicels are 5-10mm long. The flowers are greenish to white. There are 5 stigmas that are capitate. There are 5 styles that are fused basally or completely separate. The sepals are 0.4-0.6mm long. The petals are white, 2-3mm long. The styles are fused, ca. 0.5 mm, separate and recurved, ca. 1mm. The drupes are purple or black in color and are 4-6mm in diameter. The pyrenes are 3-4.5mm long. Flowers from June to September.[1]


It is found as north as New Jersey, west to Illinois, and south to Florida, and then west towards eastern Texas.[2]



It is found in disturbed pocosins, bottomlands, disturbed areas, and in moist to dry forests and woodland habitats.[2]


It flowers from June to September.[2]


This is one of the most, if not the most, popular flower with pollinators in the Pensacola, FL area.[3] The following Hymenoptera families and species were observed visiting flowers of Aralia spinosa at Archbold Biological Station:[4]

Apidae: Epeolus zonatus

Colletidae: Colletes mandibularis, Hylaeus confluens

Halictidae: Augochlora pura

Leucospididae: Leucospis robertsoni, L. slossonae

Megachilidae: Coelioxys dolichos, C. sayi, C. texana, Megachile mendica, M. xylocopoides

Sphecidae: Cerceris flavofasciata floridensis, Cerceris rufopicta, Ectemnius decemmaculatus tequesta, Ectemnius maculosus, E. rufipes ais

Vespidae: Euodynerus megaera, Parancistrocerus perennis anacardivora, Zethus spinipes

Conservation and management

Cultivation and restoration

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. Radford, Albert E., Harry E. Ahles, and C. Ritchie Bell. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. 1964, 1968. The University of North Carolina Press. 760. Print.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Weakley, Alan S. Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States: Working Draft of 21 May 2015. University of North Carolina Herbarium (NCU). PDF. 1219.
  3. Observation by Shawn Stangeland in Pensacola, FL, June 25, 2017, posted to Florida Flora and Ecosystematics Facebook Group June 25, 2017.
  4. Deyrup, M.A. 2015. Database of observations of Hymenoptera visitations to flowers of plants on Archbold Biological Station, Florida, USA.