Devils Club, Oylmpic National Park
Nasty evil stuff, but really cool looking with some great light. Look, photograph, but me no touch.
The plant is covered with brittle yellow spines that break off easily if the plants are handled or disturbed, and the entire plant has been described as having a "primordial" appearance. Devil's Club is very sensitive to human impact and does not reproduce quickly. The plants are slow growing and take many years to reach seed bearing maturity, and predominately exist in dense, moist, old growth conifer forests in the Pacific Northwest.
This species usually grows in moist, dense forest habitats, and is most abundant in old growth conifer forests. It is found from south-central Alaska to western Oregon and eastward to western Alberta and Montana. Disjunct native populations also occur over 1,500 kilometres (930 mi) away in Lake Superior on Isle Royale and Passage Island, Michigan and Porphyry Island and Slate Island, Ontario.
Native Americans used the plant both as food and medicine. The plant was traditionally used by Native Americans to treat adult-onset diabetes and a variety of tumors. Traditionally, it was and is still used to make paints. In vitro studies showed that extracts of Devil's Club inhibit tuberculosis microbes.
Because Devil's club is related to American Ginseng, some think that the plant is an adaptogen ("mind enhancer"). The plant has been harvested for this purpose and marketed widely as "Alaskan ginseng", which may damage populations of Devil's Club and its habitat.