Aralia Spinosa (Devil's Walking Stick)
Aralia Spinosa (Devil's Walking Stick)

Commonly known as Devil's Walking Stick, Aralia Spinosa is a perennial plant that provides a measure of security with its prickly stems and leaves. This plant reputedly received its common name because of the resemblance that its fallen leaves show to sticks. It prefers areas that have been disturbed and are thus well suited for landscaping projects on previously landscaped grounds.

Landscaping for Home Security

Devil's Walking Stick is a type of natural barbed wire as it features thorny stems and leaves that grow in thick clusters. The bark may also cause skin irritations. These qualities make the plant a good security barrier.


It does well in open areas where it receives some sun, but it also requires some shade. Thus, you should take care that it is not completely shaded by taller trees, while not exposing them to sun at all times. It grow best in loam, but also adapts to rocky, sandy, or clayey soils. Although the plant grows in lush quantity in rich soil, more poorly nutritive soils result in sturdier, longer-lived plants. It is also are able to grow with different levels of soil acidity. It tolerates a range of moisture content in soil, but tends not to survive flooding or drought. It may survive frost but a severe freeze will kill the plant to its root level. A frost may also burn young, unprotected plants. Occasional pruning will encourage new growth of the plant. In autumn blister beetles feed on this plant requiring countermeasures.


This plant may reach a maximum height of twenty feet and maximum width of fifteen feet at full maturity with three to six-foot leaves and two to four-inch leaflets. The plant features clusters of small flowers, green leaves with white undersides that turn burgundy in autumn and purplish black berries that are toxic to humans but also have been used for medicinal purposes. Another aesthetic contribution of Devil's Walking Stick is its propensity to attract birds, butterflies, and honeybees.


As with all landscaping features used as security measures, plants require more maintenance than fences or walls, however they may be more aesthetically appealing. Since some of the elements of the plant are toxic to humans you should fully investigate legal ramifications associated with using this plant where it may be reached by others. In general using the Devil's Walking Stick as a security measure provides a natural barrier to burglary due to its thorny stems and leaves and toxicity in its bark. You should remember that as with all plants it requires regular maintenance. Also, you should be aware of potential legal complications from its poisonous berries.