Forage Friday #119 The Devil’s Walking Stick

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image was taken specifically for Forage Friday and is titled “Devil’s Walking Stick 80521” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

Please remember that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and not to be mistaken for medical advice. Always use great care when identifying any plants you intend to consume and always consult multiple sources for accuracy.

Our mountains are full of incredible wildlife. One of my favorite plants is the one with the foreboding name. “The Devil’s Walking Stick”. It’s always sounded like the title of a B movie to me but it’s the name most people associate with tonight’s Forage Friday plant. It’s also known by several other names like Angelica Tree, Devil’s Club and Hercules Club. That last one is a good example of why scientific names are more important for some plants than others because a completely different tree will completely different usages also goes by Hercules Club. But tonight we’re talking about Aralia Spinosa. Which actually fun to say. ( For those interested the other Hercules Club is Zanthoxylum cluva-herculis. Not the topic of tonight’s post.)

Now I’m going to give an extra caution tonight. I’ve always been told that the berries of Devil’s Walking Stick are toxic. And they can be mistaken for elderberries if you’re not paying attention. If eaten in sufficient quantities the berries will cause upset stomach and its the seeds that carry most of the toxins. The plant has been suspected of causing poisoning to livestock but they’re favorable to birds, deer and bears. And I have heard that Native Americans ate the berries but I would have to presume that they removed the seeds and only are small quantities. Until I learn otherwise I’ll abstain from the berries myself.

However, in early Spring the shoots of the amazing leaves are edible raw or cooked and often used in aisian cooking. They are kinda special. The Devil’s Walking Stick has the largest leaves of any native plants. In fact most people mistake the leaf stem for branches.

A single compound leaf of The Devil’s Walking Stick.

The individual leaves can grow to be almost four feet long. When mature the stem is covered in thorns. If you double check tonight’s Feature Image you’ll see that the entire tree is bristling with rings of thorns. I’ve accidentally grabbed the trunk of this small tree to steady myself on a hillside just like this one and it’s a mistake you don’t want to duplicate!

The leaf of Aralia Spinosa attaches directly to the trunk. This tree has no branches.

I know that most of the people are looking at the photos and not believing that size of the leaf on such a small tree. That’s because it’s a compound leaf. It’s attached directly to the trunk so the tree has no need of branches. The winter form of the tree is kinda sad but the rest of time they are absolutely gorgeous! I missed getting a photo of the flowers but they’re equally impressive and have a lemony scent. If you keep bees then the Devil’s Walking Stick is a great option for honeybee forage as well.

Where this plant really takes its place is in herbalism. Aralia Spinosa is a member of the ginseng family. Here I feel the need to remind the reader that this is being presented as trivia and not medical advice. Also be aware that in addition to thorns this plant has a toxin that can sensitive skin to develop a rash.

A tincture made from the berries was a traditional treatment for toothache and rheumatism. Again I presume that the toxic seeds were removed prior to processing.

The roots were made into a poultice and applied to boils and other hard to heal sores as well as varicose veins.

For the most part it was the inner bark that was used. It was peeled and some was dried to be used in tea that promotes sweating. Fresh bark is strongly emetic and purgative.

History records that the roots were actually made into an eye wash. This surprised me because of all the irritation warnings associated with aralia spinosa.

This is very young Aralia Spinosa but it shows how the leaves spread out.

My closing thoughts are that this is another plant that has potential in the hands of a qualified expert but other than the edible young leaves probably should be avoided by a novice.

Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement 2.0

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Arriving At Shelter

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Raindrops On Yellow Poplar 71921” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page

Nature’s wrath lasts only a matter minutes and yet she delivers a blinding deluge that sweeps through my mountains. The big blue truck knows the road well but still we ease our way to the shelter of our carport. Thunder slowly rumbles as if the storm is searching. The lone traveler who suddenly escape from the downpour. The rain intensified and the roar on the metal roof is deafening for a moment but then softens to drizzle as suddenly as it was loosed into the landscape. I step out to edge of the shelter just in time to watch the dark mass dissappear over the ridge. A small yellow poplar that grows on the banks of my creek catches my attention with beads of water that glistens like diamonds a bed of emerald. Each one seems to contain its own little world with tiny mountains and dramatic cloudscapes. Before my eyes blue skies pour into each one as the fading thunder echoes its last outburst at having lost it’s prize of drenched wanderer hidden within his forest home. And I thank God for the blessing of shelter.

Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement 2.0

For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.

We also have the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe that is set up as a fully functional community. There you’ll not only be able to see and connect with me but you can also make your own posts and interact with each other.

I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup

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To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

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Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographerThank you again for your support of my page!♥️

A Little Spot For Solitude

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Nature’s Dance 61621” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

The damp leaves make no sound as I ease my way down to the forest path. Every landscape has that special place where you can go to escape from the noise of the outside world. Cities have certain rooftops and little hiding holes tucked away here and there. Panther Mountain that frequently visit has a few gaps in the forest that offer amazing views of the Gauley River below. The property that I grew up on had multiple places on rocky ledges and hidden valleys where a person sit quietly. During pre teens I was in my “ninja phase” and it wouldn’t have been uncommon to find me perched on the edge of a small cliff in the lotus position just breathing and listening to nature. And then there was the rhododendron grove that grew on the corner of the property. In this place a stand of mature rhododendrons stood that was twenty feet tall. The twisted and gnarly stems gave this spot the feel of an enchanted forest where at any moment one might meet any number of characters from legend. Such a grove is also found at Indian Rocks Park in Craigsville West Virginia. On the Far end of the serine pond is the spot that they call the Dancing Forest. The tall rhododendrons grow all over and seem to be dancing to the echoes of ancient drums they felt hundreds of years ago. This is an excellent spot to lose the outside world and find yourself. I plan to go back in the near future for more photos like this one and perhaps to feel that echo of ancient drums rattling through the mountains.

Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement 2.0

For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.

We also have the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe that is set up as a fully functional community. There you’ll not only be able to see and connect with me but you can also make your own posts and interact with each other.

I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup

Click the link below to jump to the Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe.https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/guide-to-mewe/embed/#?secret=GJGnIQEVHc

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

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Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply use the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographerThank you again for your support of my page!♥️

Yesterday’s Echoes And Tomorrow’s Hopes

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Yesterday’s Echoes 52521” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

The evening breeze delivers a faint scent that triggers a softening memory. That time when young lovers strode hand in hand along the neglected garden path in the days of long shadows and quiet conversations. The old property hadn’t been occupied for at least a generation and all that was left was the bent and broken wood and the roses. The untamed and feral bush had spread outside of its ordained spot and claimed all it could touch. In the days prior to the walk he’d pruned back the thorns to reveal a flagstone path that lead to the pond unseen just behind the bushes. There he labored feverishly to rebuild the old Victorian gazebo and its bench. And this is where he guided her. They sat down and in subdued voices they dreamed about what a life would be like in the old Victorian manor if it was rebuilt to its former glory. As dusk fell he lit the old kerosene lamp on the table and her eyes widened as the soft glow danced on the water. He turned to bench and retrieved the small box from underneath. The diamond was small but it captured the lamplight and she said yes. The work was hard but in no time the house was ready to become a home once more. The roses were now tamed again and in later years they would watch eagerly from the kitchen window as their own son lead his love along the flagstone path lined with the same roses.

Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement 2.0

For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.

We also have the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe that is set up as a fully functional community. There you’ll not only be able to see and connect with me but you can also make your own posts and interact with each other.

I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup

Click the link below to jump to the Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe.https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/guide-to-mewe/embed/#?secret=GJGnIQEVHc

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

WELCOME TO LLOYD’S LENS PHOTOGRAPHY

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Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply use the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographerThank you again for your support of my page!♥️

A View From The Bottom Of The Lake

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Summersville Dam 60921bwa” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

The sound of rushing water fills my ears as I approach the base of the dam. A family of otters playfully dart across the cool grass and glide into the rapids which they effortlessly navigate. The swift waters would quickly overcome most human swimmers but the otters don’t even seem to notice them. The highly oxygenated leg of the Gauley River is rich with crawldads and small fish and the otters will soon enjoy a buffet of all their favorites.

The earthen dam towers above me and I consider how depths swallowed an entire town just two years before my birth. I think about all the changes the mountains have seen. In the years since the lake was created we’ve gone not only to the moon but have sent robots to Mars. The latter being the science fiction of my childhood. I wonder what the next 55 years will hold? I wouldn’t be disappointed if it included submarine tours of the deep lakes. Perhaps I’ll get to see that monster catfish lurking in the submerged caves behind this giant stone wall one day. Or I might even see the descendants of those otters playing their games in the lake.

Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

Announcement 2.0

For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.

We also have the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe that is set up as a fully functional community. There you’ll not only be able to see and connect with me but you can also make your own posts and interact with each other.

I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup

Click the link below to jump to the Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe.https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/guide-to-mewe/embed/#?secret=GJGnIQEVHc

Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!

To book me simply reach out using the Contact Page and we’ll set a date. If you’re within a 50 mile radius of Summersville West Virginia all travel fees are waived.

If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

WELCOME TO LLOYD’S LENS PHOTOGRAPHY

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/embed/#?secret=ZBipPVJdZw

Click here to visithttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply use the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographerThank you again for your support of my page!♥️