|Photo by pfly|
Spines up to half an inch long crowd its thick stems. Its pretty, maple-shaped leaves, which can grow to 15 inches across, wield additional, smaller spines. Even the undersides of the leaves are spiked. This plant is seriously armed.
Despite all this--or maybe because of it--the plant had many uses among Native American tribes, some of which extend to present day. Shamans carved the plant's wood into powerful, protecting amulets, and built shelters of devil's club when they needed special protection. Fishing hooks and lures can be made from the wood; burnt stems mixed with grease make a reddish-rown face paint.
Devil's club is in the ginseng family, so it makes sense that the roots and green inner bark were especially important in making medicines. These were used by different tribes to treat a variety of ailments including diabetes, arthritis, rheumatism, tuberculosis, ulcers and other stomach troubles. Rather than avoiding this plant, Indians respected it and gathered it for its powerful medicine.
How about you? Have you had any experiences with a devil plant?