Montana Outdoors

September 22, 2011

“horridus”?

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 10:33 pm

Devil's Club

Devil's Club

Devil's Club

Devil’s Club ~ Oplopanax horridus

Every time I see the species name of this plant it occurs to me that the person who named it probably came into contact with its spines. The stems and even the underside of the leaves are heavily armed with large spines which readily break off when one comes in contact with them and the resulting wound soon festers if the spine stays embedded in the skin.

Devil’s Club is a member of the ginseng family, growing up to ten feet tall with leaves over 14 inches across and various parts of it have been used by native peoples to treat a large array of ailments. It is found in Canada in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and in the Yukon, and in the states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon and Michigan (where it is listed as “threatened”).

These photos were taken in Spring Creek Canyon, where the plant is plentiful. This year I missed the blossoms which are small and white and grow in dense clusters at the ends of the stems. The bright red berries are not edible.

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