Devil's Club in Virginia?

Asked December 13, 2016, 4:38 PM EST

I know Devil's Club is not originally from this part of America, but I have heard stories of the Native Americans bringing devils club here. Anyway I found a small patch in the middle of the woods with these, they are 6+ feet tall and are growing in the only "grassy" area in the woods. Can you identify this plant of tell me if it is devil's club? I am located on the Blackwater Swamp which was the original "border" between the Native people and the colonizers from England. I believe the first treaty was 1624. The plant is on the native side of the swamp.

Prince George County Virginia

3 Responses

"Devil's Club" might be a local common name for a couple of different species. The one that I know of is Oplopanax horridus . It is a species that grows more in the Northwest U.S. and was used by Native Americans. I don't think it is the tree in your photo.

It's very difficult to identify your tree without being able to see the branches and/or leaves. Just based on the thorny trunk and its location in Virginia, two possibilities come to mind. Honey Locust is one, but its thorns are more needlelike. Devil's Walking Stick (similar name, but a different species than the Oplopanax) is another. Here are some other photos of Devil;s Walking Stick:

I found out it is actually Devil's walking stick. I got the name wrong, but thanks anyway. If you could tell me more about the plant, and how to clone it to put around the garden I would appreciate it.

I don't have any personal experience with propagating Devil's Walking Stick, but it appears to reproduce fairly easily from either seed or cuttings. If you collect seed, look for the berries, refrigerate them for a couple months, and then start them in pots . It appears that it also propagate well from root cuttings. Select pencil sized roots with a few feeder roots coming off of it. Cut a 3-4 inch section during the winter and plant in organically rich, moist soil.

Good luck!