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Geeth N Jaw

Seán Pádraig O'Donoghue wrote:

Devil’s Club (Oplopanax horridus) when a person needs to reassert their sense of self and their right to be alive and embodied in the world.

Coast Salish peoples have long engaged the plant in protection magic—but, though their ritual and medical science and technology inform my understanding of the plant

Devil’s Club claims its space. Sharp spines protect tall stems that open into a canopy of leaves high above the ground and, in late summer, explode into clusters of red berries. Its medicine can teach people to claim their space as well.

‘’I am always very careful when giving Devil’s Club to someone whose life is ripe for big changes: I make sure the person I am giving the plant to has a stable “greater habitat” in their life; I tell them that this is a plant that can bring big changes and ask whether they are ready for them; and often I pair Devil’s Club with Rose (Rosa spp.) to bring some sweetness in the midst of the shifts to come.”

Devil’s Club grows where the forest has been disrupted by a clear cut, a landslide, or a flood. It protects rich soils and the wildflowers that grow in them, because its spiky stalks prevent big creatures from blundering over them, and its great leaves shade the ground. I can tell you that it is so hard to remove by hand that it stopped the northward expansion of the railroads in British Columbia. I can tell you its green buds tipped with purple pulsing life in spring.

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