Day 112 Devil’s Walkingstick

March 31, 2015

(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day's gift.)

I first heard of the baobab tree when I read The Little Prince. The little prince wanted his sheep to eat young baobab trees before they grew big and swallowed up the planet.

… there were on the planet where the little prince lived--as on all planets--good plants and bad plants. In consequence, there were good seeds from good plants, and bad seeds from bad plants. But seeds are invisible. They sleep deep in the heart of the earth's darkness, until some one among them is seized with the desire to awaken. Then this little seed will stretch itself and begin--timidly at first--to push a charming little sprig inoffensively upward toward the sun. If it is only a sprout of radish or the sprig of a rose-bush, one would let it grow wherever it might wish. But when it is a bad plant, one must destroy it as soon as possible, the very first instant that one recognizes it.

My back yard does not grow baobabs but it seems to nurture a thorny woody weed, known as the Devil’s Walkingstick (Aralia spinosa) or Angelica Tree, that can take over my backyard planet. They can grow as tall as 30 feet, 6-8 inches in diameter. For several years, I have ignored these small annoying plants and now there is almost a forest of them in my yard. I don’t have a sheep but I am grateful that I have enough health and stamina to have put a dent into getting rid of them today. With saw, bypass lopper, pruning shears and heavy gloves (which did not prevent the thorns from invading my hands), I went forth in battle against these treacherous weeds. 

There is a flip side too. Thanks to the Devil’s Walkingstick, I got lots of exercise today, gained new botanical information and was reminded of a life lesson—it is important to take care of small problems before they grow into big ones. 

My gift today is a thorny weed.

Here is an interesting amateur video that shows this weed:  

You can read my other posts on this project here:

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