Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Montana, Michigan and Ontario.
Sunset zones: Not Listed.
USDA zones: 4-9.
Late spring to midsummer.
Small, greenish white flowers arranged on pyramidal terminal clusters. Bright red fruit ripens 4 weeks later and persist on the shrub through winter.
Maple-leaf shaped with spines on the underside.
Moist, acidic, and does well next to seepages, creeks and ponds.
Sow seed when ripe. Seed may take up to 18 months to germinate.
Stem cuttings from horizontal branches in late spring to early summer.
Rainy Side Notes
Devil's club is a ginseng relative and notorious for its impaling spines. However it is worth cultivating in your garden, as it is a beautiful native shrub. After it flowers, it forms clusters of berries that are inedible by humans, but is a food source for bears. This shrub was at one time an important medicinal plant for coastal tribes.
In a Northwest garden, its maple-like leaves look tropical and can reach sizes up to 3 feet across, although most leaves will be smaller. I love this plant growing in a garden, but its spines are formidable. If you need a good barrier, this native will form an impenetrable one. Around its perimeter, you need to cultivate very cautiously, as you don't want to be impaled by one its spines.
In the wild, devil's club grows in shade near streams and seepage sites. In the garden, carefully site the plants in areas that are moist. If not, you will need to water them frequently during our annual dry spell. If you have a naturally shady, moist area this plant is a good selection for these wet conditions. If you already have devil's club growing, I believe it is too beautiful a plant to exorcise from your garden.