Showing visitors around at the weekend, it suddenly occurred to us to wonder why these trees – which looked a bit like ash saplings – hadn’t been munched by our bovine neighbours, which have done a pretty good job of demolishing anything else within reach
Closer inspection revealed that they weren’t ash
And solved the mystery of why the cows hadn’t eaten them – they’re quite thorny
There are sharp little thorns between every leaf
And even on some of the leaves themselves.
All in all, not a plant you’d want to tangle with – but having cleared up one mystery, it only raised another: what the hell is it?
Thanks to the magic of Twitter, it would appear to be Aralia spinosa, or the Devil’s Walkingstick.