Named for the forbidding spines, this is a common lowland plant of wet areas, growing beneath the forest canopy. In the spring, a tall stout pyramidal raceme of small greenish-white flowers further confirms the presence of this well-armed species.
The leaves are borne on tall stems and are palmately lobed, toothed, and also spiny. This is the only member of the Aralia Family in the Park. It is related to the exotic English Ivy.
In autumn, large clusters of reddish berries may be seen. They soon fall, and the leaves transform to a muted yellow.