Devils club

Oplopanax horridus

Devil's club or devil's walking stick is a large shrub primarily native to the cool moist forests of western North America, but also disjunct on islands in Lake Superior. It is noted for its large palmate leaves and erect, woody stems covered in brittle spines.
Devil's Club I found this to be an amazing plant with large thorns on the tall stem, the Devil's Club (Oplopanax horridus) at Mount Revelstoke National Park, British Columbia, Canada. British Columbia,Canada,Devil's Club,Devils club,Geotagged,Mount Revelstoke National Park,Oplopanax horridus,Spring

Appearance

Devil's club generally grows to 1 to 1.5 metres tall; however, instances exist of it reaching in excess of 5 metres in rainforest gullies. The spines are found along the upper and lower surfaces of veins of its leaves as well as the stems. The leaves are spirally arranged on the stems, simple, palmately lobed with 5-13 lobes, 20 to 40 centimetres across. The flowers are produced in dense umbels 10 to 20 centimetres diameter, each flower small, with five greenish-white petals. The fruit is a small red drupe 4 to 7 millimetres diameter.

The plant is covered with brittle yellow spines that break off easily if the plants are handled or disturbed, and the entire plant has been described as having a "primordial" appearance. Devil's club is very sensitive to human impact and does not reproduce quickly. The
plants are slow growing and take many years to reach seed bearing maturity, and predominately exist in dense, moist, old growth conifer forests in the Pacific Northwest.
Devil's Club This plant is all over the place in Pacific Northwest forests. The stems are covered in many, many very fine little thorns. I can tell you from experience that if you accidentally grab one of these to stop yourself sliding you will very much regret it (and need tweezers) later on. They do however catch the forest sunlight rather beautifully. These plants are fairly immature and still relatively small. They can get much larger, with way more wicked spines than these young plants.

Devil's club is related to Siberian ginseng and has been used medicinally by Alaskan and Pacific Northwest Native peoples. Devils club,Geotagged,Oplopanax horridus,United States

Habitat

This species usually grows in moist, dense forest habitats, and is most abundant in old growth conifer forests. It is found from Southcentral Alaska to western Oregon and eastward to western Alberta and Montana. Disjunct native populations also occur over 1,500 kilometres away in Lake Superior on Isle Royale and Passage Island, Michigan and Porphyry Island and Slate Island, Ontario.
Devil's Club oplopanax horridus  Devils club,Geotagged,Oplopanax horridus,Summer,United States,shrub

Uses

Native Americans used the plant as medicine. The plant was traditionally used by Native Americans to treat adult-onset diabetes, as well as rheumatoid arthritis. Traditionally, it was and is still used to make paints. ''In vitro'' studies showed that extracts of Devil's Club inhibit tuberculosis microbes. Additionally, Devil's club has been seen to extend life expectancy and reduce leukemia burden in rats engrafted with acute myeloid leukemia.

The plant is used medicinally and ceremonially by the Tlingit and Haida people of Southeast Alaska. A piece of Devil's club hung over a doorway is said to ward off evil. The plant is harvested and used in a variety of ways, including poultices applied externally and ointments, however the consumption of an oral tea is most common in traditional settings. Some Tlingit disapprove of the commercialization of the plant as they see it as a violation of its sacred status.

Because Devil's club is related to American Ginseng, some think that the plant is an adaptogen. The plant has been harvested for this purpose and marketed widely as "Alaskan ginseng", which may damage populations of Devil's Club and its habitat. The genus ''Panax'' is exceptional among Araliaceae both morphologically and chemically. Other, even closely related plants with proven adaptogen effects, such as ''Eleutherococcus senticosus'' the "Siberian ginseng", are chemically dissimilar to ''Panax'' ginseng.

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Taxonomy
KingdomPlantae
DivisionAngiosperms
ClassEudicots
OrderApiales
FamilyAraliaceae
GenusOplopanax
SpeciesO. horridus