E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Oplopanax horridus (Sm.) Miq.
devil's club (devilsclub)
Araliaceae (Ginseng family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Brian Klinkenberg  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #6844)

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Distribution of Oplopanax horridus
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Species Information

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Tall, deciduous shrub; stems 1-3 m tall, punky, thick, strongly armed with yellow spines 5-10 mm long.
Palmately lobed, the leaf blades shallowly 7- to 9-lobed, 10-35 cm wide, heart-shaped at the base.
Inflorescence of small, headlike umbels in elongate panicles or racemes, up to 25 cm long; flowers greenish-white, short-stalked.
Bright red berries, 2-3 seeded, 5-8 mm wide.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Wet to moist streambanks and forests in the lowland to subalpine zones; common throughout all but NE BC; N to SW AK and YT, E to AB and S to MT and OR; disjunct in ON and MI.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Oplopanax horridus

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 758 2750
Slope Gradient (%) 0 20 350
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 2 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 4 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BWBS(26), CDF(2), CWH(1454), ESSF(497), ICH(2075), IDF(76), MH(42), MS(93), SBPS(1), SBS(883), SWB(1)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant, submontane to subalpine, Asian and North American deciduous shrub distributed equally in the Pacific, Cordilleran, and Central regions. Occurs on very moist to wet, nitrogen-rich soils within boreal, cool temperate, and cool mesothermal climates; its occurrence increases with increasing precipitation and continentality. Common, often dominant. in semi-open forests on water-receiving (floodplain, seepage, and stream-edge) and water-collecting sites; occasional on water­shedding sites when soils are calcareous. Typically associated with ferns (Athyrium filix-femina, Gymnocarpium dryopteris, and Polystichum munitum) and forbs (Actaea rubra, Galium triflorum, Tiarella trifoliata, and T. unifoliata). A nitrophytic species characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Echinopanax horridus (Sm.) Decne. & Planch. ex Harms
Fatsia horrida (Sm.) Benth. & Hook. f. ex W.H. Brewer & S. Watson

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References