Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mystery Plant #1

Mystery plant #1 - Oplopanax horridus

Oplopanax horridus,  is derived from two Greek words: hoplon, meaning weapon and panakos meaning panacea, a hypothetical remedy for all ills or diseases, once sought by the alchemists. Horridus meaning
horrible, frightening refers to plant being covered by thorns.
source: http://homeopathyvancouver.com/wp-content/uploads/files/ophopanax.pdf

 Disclaimer: NOT INTENDED AS MEDICAL ADVICE purely informational only.

Personally, I do NOT recommend the use of this herbal remedy unless under the supervision of a physician. Just read the homeopathy provers' results.

A plant we found in the wetter area of our property. April 23, 2012

the grove may 7th 2012

hubby says spines are not stiff
And, what a remarkable plant it is!

This mean looking plant with a mean sounding name is really quite amazing.

This ginseng relative has been used by natives for a variety of ailments. Even the highly toxic red berries are used as a lice-killer. Even to this day, scientists are researching this plant as a cure for tuberculosis.

My husband said (as he touched with leather gloves) that the spines are soft and flexible. Don't be deceived. This plant will hurt, although it has no injection of chemical as does the nettle, the spines still pierce skin, hurt, and can cause a secondary infection from the injury.

a bud

These plants are very slow-growing and are mainly found in undisturbed old-growth forests. Lucky we have such a treasure hidden  here.

Found in Eastern Pierce County, Washington. soil conditions are wet in winter and spring. possibly wet feet conditions. Sun is dappled in winter and shaded in summer.

Possibly didn't notice last year for all the nettles.

hubby next to a stick - hubby is 6' tall

Botanical Plant info 

go to USDA site link here: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=OPHO



 Growing guide

Plant Group:
USDA zones: 3-9.
Flowering period:
Late spring to midsummer.
Moist, acidic, and does well next to seepages, creeks and ponds. summer drought tolerant
Propagation Methods:
Sow seed when ripe. Seed may take up to 18 months to germinate.
Stem cuttings from horizontal branches in late spring to early summer.
Pruning Methods:
Very painfully!

source: http://www.rainyside.com/plant_gallery/natives/Oplopanax_horridus.html



Cool Facts:

  • seeds can take up to 4 years to germinate
  • leaves can reach a width of 3 feet across
  • can grow up to 20 feet tall
  • Bears love the poison fruit.
  • Many uses



Great site for uses of all sorts   http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue62/article2697.html

spiritual, medicinal, cultural

Another source: http://www.herbalremedies.com/devils-club-information.html

Another source: http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Oplopanax+horridus
Devils Club
  • roots can be cooked and eaten.
  • young fleshy stems are edible when cooked.
  • young leaves lack the stiff spines and can be eaten raw.
  • berries are not edible.
  • grows in moist areas that are shaded from the sun, in both foothill and montane regions.
  • warning: plant spines can cause infections or allergic reactions.
source: http://northernbushcraft.com/plants/devilsClub/notes.htm

Proof of Uses

Great site of a detailed blind trial of the effects of devils club.

7 May 2012

What is new is the growth and appearance of the sprouts.

top of stem 7 may 2012

They are classified as a shrub but are single stemmed.

The base pictured is not one shrub but rather several individuals.

7 may 2012 base of cluster

A few sprouts that I pulled from a path seemed to be rhizomatic.

the grove 7 may 2012

May 27 2012

bud & branch has grown
top of stalk has flowers

ooh spikes.

the grove in late may green!

June 17 2012


  1. It's devil's club! Scientific name is Oplopanax horridus (yeah, horridus...sounds awesome, right?). Even though it's a scary looking plant, there's some really great research going on right now about it's possible qualities as a cure for TB. Also, the native Americans in the PNW have been using it for a long time medicinally. I haven't researched it a whole lot, but I'm sure it's nothing a thorough Google search can't handle. Hope this helps!

    1. THANKS Heidi!
      Now I have a name I can research it some more. I was not having any luck googling key words or photos or the local flora websites earlier.
      After my research I will update the post with some info on the plant! Cool.


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