Montana Outdoors

July 31, 2008

Devil’s Club (or) Devilsclub

Oplopanax horridus

Devil's Club

Devil’s Club are interesting plants native to the Pacific Northwest, found from south-central Alaska south along the coast to Washington and Oregon and east into Idaho and Montana. It is also found, interestingly, on Passage Island in Lake Superior, but nowhere else between there and the Northwest. I have seen it in western Montana only in deep stream canyons in the company of old-growth Cedars (not bad company as far as I’m concerned).

Devil's Club

They are large plants: the leaves in these photos are about a foot across, and these plants are about 5 feet tall, but they get much larger. They are pretty tough customers because the stalks have long and brittle spines, and there are even spines on the larger leaves. If one figures out how to deal with the spines, the plants are edible and nutritious, but they’re very sensitive to human impact and do not reproduce quickly. They are closely related to American Ginseng.

Devil's Club

They are blossoming right now and the clump of blossoms in the photo is 6 to 8 inches tall.

Devil's Club

Some of the plants have fruit already, although it is still green as can be seen in the photo. When ripe, it’s bright red.

Devil's Club

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