PNW medicinal shrub. This is the thorny relative of ginseng (Panax) and like its perennial kin, it is widely used as a valuable medicinal today by countless generations by our Coastal First Nations from Alaska to California.
Found along moist open mixed forest and riparian areas, but will make itself home in a shady garden where its lovely bold maple-like palmate green leaves can be enjoyed. Creamy white flower clusters are followed by brilliant red berries by August.
Some would find this species intimidating with its 3m woody stalks armed with wicked thorns, but this plant is a beauty. Truly under appreciated. Summer drought tolerant.
Also known as: Tlingit aspirin, Devil’s walking stick, cukilanarpak, Echinopanax horridus, Fatsia horrida, Panax horridum, and Alaskan ginseng.
Here is an interesting academic article discussing its ethnobotanical use and ethnopharmalogical properties. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2018/9186926/
- Seed Count: 15-20
- Collection Date: July 2020
- Hardiness Zone: 3-9
- Height and Width 3m x 3m
- Germination test type: float
- Family: Araliaceae
How to germinate Oplopanax horridus seeds:
Seed must be kept moist and will be shipped in moist medium. Germination can be prolonged and erratic if seed is stored dry, perhaps this is the reason why people find germinating this species difficult. We do the super no-brainer easy way: place seed in a plastic resealable baggie full of moist coarse sand. Mix. Place in fridge at 4 C. Seed collected August 2009 were sprouting in January 2010 without warm stratification period. Very rewarding technique whether you are an expert or novice. Prick out seedlings and transplant in humus rich medium enriched with greensand. Deeper the pot the better. DO NOT LET SEEDLINGS FREEZE!!! Let grow 2 years before seating in final position..