Aralia spinosa L.
Coefficient of Conservatism: *
Coefficient of Wetness: 0
Wetness Index: FAC
Physiognomy: Ad Shrub

Native south and east of Michigan, this species is less commonly grown than Aralia elata, but has a similar look. First collected as “escaped from cult.” in 1894 in Kent Co. It was found again in nearby Ottawa Co. by W. S. Martinus in 2011. This is a species of open forests, forest edges, and bluffs; the recent Michigan collection was at the edge of a shrub swamp.

Ideally, inflorescences should be collected to distinguish the tree species of Aralia, but this is difficult because of their size. The leaf venation character in the key is useful, though best applied with comparative material. In addition, the leaflets of A. spinosa tend to be more conspicuously petioled, be essentially glabrous beneath, and have less conspicuous marginal teeth. In A. elata, the leaves are often pubescent beneath, or at least have scattered spinules on the veins, and have sessile to nearly sessile, more strongly toothed leaflets. See also comments under A. elata.


Kent County
Ottawa County


MICHIGAN FLORA ONLINE. A. A. Reznicek, E. G. Voss, & B. S. Walters. February 2011. University of Michigan. Web. November 26, 2022.