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Hercules' club

Aralia spinosa is an aromatic spiny deciduous shrub or small tree growing 7–26 ft tall, with a simple or occasionally branched stem with very large bipinnate leaves 30–45 in long. The trunks are up to 6–8 in in diameter, with the plants umbrella-like in habit with open crowns. The young stems are stout and thickly covered with sharp spines. The plants generally grow in clusters of branchless trunks, although stout wide-spreading branches are occasionally produced.

Aralia spinosa, commonly known as devil's walking stick, is a woody species of plant in the genus Aralia, family Araliaceae, native to eastern North America. The various names refer to the viciously sharp, spiny stems, petioles, and even leaf midribs. It has also been known as Angelica-tree. This species is sometimes called Hercules' club, prickly ash, or prickly elder, common names it shares with the unrelated Zanthoxylum clava-herculis.

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Rudy Mancke served as naturalist and co-host of South Carolina ETV's NatureScene, which began its long run in 1978. His field trips, broadcast nationwide, have earned him a legion of dedicated viewers. Rudy's knowledge of the complex inner-workings of different ecosystems and his great admiration for the natural world make him the perfect guide. In fact, the National Wildlife Federation and the Garden Club of America honored his commitment to resource conservation with special awards. Since retiring from SCETV, Rudy has gone on to teach at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.