Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Aralia spinosa


SPECIES: Aralia spinosa
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Sullivan, Janet. 1992. Aralia spinosa. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : ARASPI SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : ARSP2 COMMON NAMES : Devil's walking stick prickly ash Hercules club angelica tree prickly elder pick tree toothache tree shotbush TAXONOMY : The accepted scientific name of Devil's walking stick is Aralia spinosa L. There are no named varieties [7,8,24]. LIFE FORM : Tree, Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Aralia spinosa
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Devil's walking stick is found naturally occurring in eastern North America from New York and Pennsylvania south to Florida and west to southwestern Iowa and western Texas.  It has escaped from cultivation in New England to southern Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin, Oregon, Washington, and western Europe [4,19,33]. ECOSYSTEMS :    FRES12  Longleaf - slash pine    FRES13  Loblolly - shortleaf pine    FRES14  Oak - pine    FRES15  Oak - hickory    FRES16  Oak - gum - cypress    FRES17  Elm - ash - cottonwood    FRES18  Maple - beech - birch STATES :      AL  AR  CT  DE  FL  GA  IL  IN  KY  LA      MD  MA  MI  MO  MS  NC  NJ  NY  OH  OK      ON  OR  PA  RI  SC  TN  TX  VA  WA  WV      WI BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS :     1  Northern Pacific Border     2  Cascade Mountains     5  Columbia Plateau KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :    K089  Black Belt    K100  Oak - hickory forest    K101  Elm - ash forest    K102  Beech - maple forest    K103  Mixed mesophytic forest    K104  Appalachian oak forest    K106  Northern hardwoods    K107  Northern hardwoods - fir forest    K108  Northern hardwoods - spruce forest    K109  Transition between K104 and K106    K110  Northeastern oak - pine forest    K111  Oak - hickory - pine forest    K112  Southern mixed forest    K113  Southern floodplain forest    K114  Pocosin SAF COVER TYPES :     16  Aspen     17  Pin cherry     18  Paper birch     19  Gray birch - red maple     24  Hemlock - yellow birch     25  Sugar maple - beech - yellow birch     26  Sugar maple - basswood     27  Sugar maple     28  Black cherry - maple     40  Post oak - blackjack oak     44  Chestnut oak     52  White oak - black oak - northern red oak     57  Yellow-poplar     59  Yellow-poplar - white oak - northern red oak     60  Beech - sugar maple     63  Cottonwood     65  Pin oak - sweetgum     75  Shortleaf pine     76  Shortleaf pine - oak     80  Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine     81  Loblolly pine     82  Loblolly pine - hardwood     83  Longleaf pine - slash pine     87  Sweet gum - yellow-poplar    108  Red maple    109  Hawthorn SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Aralia spinosa
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Insects harvest pollen and nectar from the flowers of Devil's walking stick [8].  The fruits are used as food by many birds and other frugivores, including black bear [7,8,14,15].  Van Dersal reported that deer use Devil's walking stick as browse [32].  White [37] did not observe any deer browsing of young ramets but did observe stem damage due to antler rubbing. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : Devil's walking stick bark, roots, and berries have been used for medicinal purposes, both by Native Americans and European settlers.  It is planted as an ornamental in North America and Europe [33]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Control:  Devil's walking stick is killed by aerosol applications of glyphosate at rates of 1.50 to 2.25 pounds per acre (0.56-2.52 kg/ha) applied three times at 2-week intervals from mid-August to mid-September [35].  Korostoff [17] reported that Devil's walking stick is controlled by cutting and application of herbicide to the stump.  The most effective treatment reported by Loftis [20] is injection of stems larger than 2 inches in diameter with herbicide; basal sprays were ineffective on his study sites. Establishment:  Devil's walking stick populations are maintained only on disturbed sites.  When the overstory cover becomes thick enough, Devil's walking stick declines.  Defoliation by gypsy moth infestation in Pennsylvania and Maryland resulted in an increase in stems per acre of Devil's walking stick, due both to injury of Devil's walking stick ramets and to release by removal of overstory [12].  Mowing or cutting of stems results in vigorous sprouting of new ramets from underground rhizomes and is recommended for maintenance of vigorous stands [14,15]. Fire also produces appropriate disturbances and stem damage, and could be used to maintain Devil's walking stick stands [36].


SPECIES: Aralia spinosa
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Devil's walking stick is a spiny, few-branched, flat-topped tree or shrub 25 to 35 feet (7-10 m) tall.  It grows from extensive rhizomes [4,24,33,36,37].  The stems tend to remain unbranched until the first terminal inflorescences are produced at an average age of 3.5 years. There are abundant prickles on the stems and leaves of first-year ramets [13,36,37]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :    Phanerophyte (mesophanerophyte) REGENERATION PROCESSES : Devil's walking stick perennates by rhizomes, producing ramets.  Leaves may be killed by frost in winter; severe frost can kill stems back to ground level [13].  Flowers are pollinated by insects, mostly bees. Seeds are dispersed by frugivores, and germination is in the spring following stratification [8,32,33].  Artificial propagation can be achieved through root cuttings [32]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Devil's walking stick is found in upland and low woods, pocosins, and savannahs [24].  It prefers rich moist soils and is found at edges of streams, and in thickets and shrub bays [13,33].  Some of the plant species associated with Devil's walking stick include black cherry (Prunus serotina), eastern hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana), tree sparkleberry (Vaccinium arboreum), red maple (Acer rubrum var trilobum), American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana), common persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), sassafras (Sassafras albidum), Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens), Bignonia capreolata, St. Andrew's cross (Ascyrum hypericoides), common sweetleaf (Symplocos tinctoria), Vaccinium spp., and passionflower (Passiflora lutea) [23].  Associates on a Texas shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata)/white oak (Quercus alba) community include Meliz azedarach, hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli), and flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) [36]. Devil's walking stick is found in Louisiana in openings in upland hardwoods, with plant associates including sassafras, American holly (Ilex opaca), flowering dogwood, sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum), serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.), common persimmon, Vaccinium spp., grape (Vitis spp.), eastern hophornbeam, Viburnum spp., and Carolina buckthorn (Rhamnus caroliniana).  It is also found on gullied land and on moist bottomlands with plant associates including American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) and green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) [28]. Devil's walking stick is found in southern Appalachian forests in openings from 8,042 square feet to 10,763 square feet (750-1,000 sq m), with the frequency of occurrence dropping off with larger gaps; it is not found in undisturbed understory [26]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Obligate Initial Community Species Devil's walking stick is shade intolerant [31].  In a study of succession in Illinois oak (Quercus velutina) woodlands , Shotola [27] reported that a population of Devil's walking stick (documented in 1967) decreased as a population of sugar maple (Acer saccarum) increased; by 1983, no individuals were found.  The assumption is that the increased canopy coverage was unfavorable to Devil's walking stick.  Devil's walking stick is also found in abundance in clearcuts, but not in adjacent intact pine plantations in Ohio.  The population on this site increased in the third and fourth years after the clearcut.  There is concern that the presence of Devil's walking stick on these sites may delay subsequent establishment of hardwood species [1]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Devil's walking stick flowers in July and August, setting fruit that ripens from September to October [33].


SPECIES: Aralia spinosa
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : NO-ENTRY FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :    Tree with adventitious-bud root crown/root sucker    Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)    Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)    Secondary colonizer - off-site seed


SPECIES: Aralia spinosa
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : NO-ENTRY DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Removal of aboveground portions of stems by means other than fire is reported to result in vigorous resprouting of new ramets.  It is reasonable to assume, although not documented, that fire death of aboveground stems would have the same result [36].  Periodic fires create openings in forest canopies that allow Devil's walking stick to establish and maintain populations [16]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Since populations of Devil's walking stick are maintained only on disturbed areas, periodic fires that create disturbed areas and forest openings would result in seral sites that could include Devil's walking stick [15,16].

References for species: Aralia spinosa

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