‘THANK YOU,’ SAY THE BIRDS, “these are delicious.” And they are delicious to look at, too–especially as fall comes on, with all the giant heads of bird-attracting purple fruit and in some cases (such as Aralia spinosa, above) incredible fall foliage color, too. Do you grow any aralias (sometimes called spikenards) in your garden yet? Some of my favorites you may wish to consider adopting, too:
- Aralia spinosa, the devil’s walking stick (a small suckering tree, above);
- Aralia cordata, a giant herbaceous perennial, and Aralia racemosa, a native Eastern perennial, also size-XL;
- Aralia elata, especially the variegated forms.
These grow wild here in north central Florida, where I was taught another common name is Hercules club. To a casual observer, the fruit and foliage look extremely similar to the winged sumac (Rhus copallina), but brush up against those spiny trunks and you’ll soon learn the difference!
I’ve been lurking here for a while, and I just wanted to say that I really love these posts about interesting plants. I’m new to gardening – this was my first summer planting any flowers, and last summer was the first time I planted vegetables. These posts are such eye/brain candy. Now, I just have to pick *one* to try first…even my too-big-for-my-garden eyes know that if I did them all at once, I would have a mess on my hands.
I would have thought those were elderberry! (sambucas). What gorgeous fall color they provide.
Yes, Stephen, I know what you mean. I love elderberry, too (as do the birds!). The fall color of A. spinosa is exceptional. Give it its own space; it suckers and colonizes!
We have a small spinosa and by the look of it, we should plant it out. I didn’t realise that it had such amazing autumn colouring. Cheers for enlightening me and from A. spinosa for me planting it out tomorrow ;)
Thank you! Just what I am looking for at the edge of the field into woods… color and bird food !. I can’t find them for sale anywhere(well anywhere yet) thanks.Dale
I’m in southern Vermont
I guess I’ll have to wait for Spring ?
I love Aralia spinosa! I saw it at a client’s house who loves unique plants and feeding local birds. I snuck my pruners over to the neighbor’s lawn to cut down a couple of suckers so there are no complaints.
Just adopted three aralia elata variegated! Love them and so happy I found them.
Hi, Donna. Aren’t they wonderful? Have the white and gold margined ones. Love both. Nice to hear from you.
I have a spot that is dry and in the burning sun all day, I’d like to try this but I have limited space so the suckering could be a problem by the sounds of it.
exciting photo. immediately searched for a source to buy but only found seeds available. any sugestions as to nurseries that might carry aralia spinosa? within driving time from the berkshires or mail order. much appreciated.
Hi, Mal. You can order from Sunshine Farm and Gardens (you email the owner as it explains on the site) and I have also known Windy Hill in Gt. Barrington to know where to get it.
The spring shoots from Devil’s Walking Stick are also edible and tasty when cooked. But parts of the plant are poisonous, and the shoots may even be when raw, so be careful! More info here: http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Devil'sWalkingstick.html
Who knew, Joel (well, Steve Brill did I guess!). :)
Aralia racemosa is at the top of my wish list of plants. I will get it from Prairie Nursery. I need to be careful and plan out a space for it in my garden – space is becoming quite limited, but I really want to incorporate this plant for me and the birds! I always envy yours. (And your garden, too.)
I have A. cordata Sun King. Love it! The color is amazing and it flowered and fruited its first year in the ground – and produced babies!
We have many native aralia growing on the edges of our woods (western Wisconsin)- they are perhaps 30 inches tall and wide, with a yellow fall color. The berries do not color as deeply as those in your photo…I’d love to find a variegated cultivar!