Devils Club 2009

Thunderbird Falls Trail, Chugach State Park, Alaska, July 2009

  • Oplopanax horridus Miq.
  • Devilsclub
  • Araliaceae (Ginseng Family)
  • USDA Symbol: OPHO
  • USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.

A sparsely branched, somewhat rangy shrub with giant maplelike leaves and crooked, pithy, canelike stems with long, stiff, yellow thorns.

Devil’s Club is a conspicuous understory shrub in boggy places within the Northwest coastal forest, where it makes off-trail travel difficult or impossible.

The barbed thorns inflict unpleasant wounds and were long thought to be tipped with poison.

Nevertheless, the plant is a beautiful, or at least unusual, component of the forest understory. Its giant leaves are adaptations to the dim light of its environment.

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