Devil’s Club

Oplopanax horridus

Devil's Club

APPEARANCE

Devil’s club grows 1-3 metres tall and has crooked stems covered in hard yellow spines. It has large broad leaves with many spines on the underside. If the plant is touched, the spines can break off and cause infection. It has small white flowers that mature into bright red shiny berries.

RANGE & HABITAT

This plant is found from south Alaska to southern Oregon. It likes growing in moist woods, especially along streams. In B.C., this plant grows in the Coast and Mountains and Central Interior ecoprovinces.

LIFE CYCLE

Its flowers appear in late spring to mid summer. After blooming, the bright red berries grow, and these last into the winter.

ANIMAL USES

Bears and other brave animals eat the berries.

TRADITIONAL USES BY INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

This plant is widely used by many Indigenous peoples. Various parts of the plant are used for arthritis, rheumatism, ulcers, diabetes and other diseases. It is believed the plant has magical powers to purify, and provide luck. Charcoal from the stalks is still used to make ceremonial and protective face paints.

OTHER USES

When the CPR railroad was being built through B.C., this plant caused builders to change the route because it was too difficult and painful to work in certain patches of it.

STATUS

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

MORE INFORMATION

www.gardeningknowhow.com

Photo: Lenz