There are around 40 species of vigorous deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs and a few rhizomatous perennial from Southern and Eastern Asia, Malaysia, and North, Central, and South America found in mainly in Mountainous woodlands. They bear striking large compound leaves consisting of numerous leaflets are sometimes covered with large bristles. Some of the tree and shrub species have prickly stems and inclined to sucker from the roots. It produces numerous densely packed cream white or greenish white flowers are borne in terminal panicles of spherical umbels or cymes followed by spherical black fruits that are eagerly eaten by birds.
Grow in fertile, humus rich, moist soil in a sunny or partially shaded site sheltered from strong winds. All will tolerate light frost but need a warm humid summer for best growth. Poorer soils are said to produce hardier, longer-lived specimen. Divide rhizomatous perennial in spring.
Prone Alternaria leaf spot, Xanthomonas leaf spot, aphids, spider mitess, mealy bugs, and stem borers.
Aralia spinosa – Devil’s Walking-Stick – Hercules Club – American Angelica Tree – This upright deciduous tree or shrub grows 20-30’ feet tall and 15’ feet wide. It produces thick stout thorned stems that hold compound leaves 3-5’ feet long with 80 or more rounded to oval leaflets to 3” that are dark green above with blue-green undersides. In late spring it bears umbels of white flowers borne in conical terminal panicle to 2-4’ feet long followed by spherical black fruit to ¼” wide. The leaves turn yellow in autumn.