Ladybug-sized flowers cluster together in loose panicles

Devil's Walkingstick

Ladybug-sized flowers cluster together in loose panicles the size of a laundry basket, on top of a tree that favors ditches and open roadsides. This isn’t just any tree. Despite its small stature, rarely topping 20 feet, it has the distinction of growing a triple-compound leaf, the largest leaf of any tree in North America. These aren’t just any leaves. Graceful layers surround the slender trunk like a ball gown over a petticoat. Sharp spines cover new growth, protecting young trees from young deer and young people. The flowers, though… the flowers attract a myriad of bees and butterflies, multitudes of winged creatures nearly as numerous as the flowers themselves. Should you come across this beautiful plant on your daily walk during its mid-summer bloom, take a few minutes to check it out.~K

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We depart from the main boat dock at Devils Fork State Park, Salem SC, 28676