When Bugs and Daffy missed one of those turns in Albuquerque, they ended up meeting a guy named Hassan. Hassan forgot the password to the cave, and went through several possibilities, including “Open Sasparilla?” Classic stuff.

A more official name for sasparilla is “sarsaparilla,” and I have two species of that growing on our place, Aralia hispida, and Aralia nudicaulis. Actually, these are false sarsaparilla, but I’m going to let it slide. Today I found the first Aralia nudicaulis with an open blossom of the season. So when I say, “Open sarsaparilla,” that’s what I mean. These blossoms look like fireworks to me:

Aralia nudicaulis

Aralia nudicaulis

I took that photo last year. The one I took today was just that awful, so I have decided to withhold it from public viewing. I’ll take another shot tomorrow or the next day.

This particular plant looks an awful lot like poison ivy when it first comes up. The leaves are reddish, come in threes, and have pretty much the same shape too. Here’s the foliage of the two for comparison:

Aralia nudicaulis foliage

Aralia nudicaulis foliage

Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)

Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)


The leaves of both start out a bit reddish and then green up when the plant matures a little, so don’t go by the color.

I’m allergic to this stuff, and I think people who claim to not be allergic to it are just wrong. I’m also allergic to fire (it gives me a blistery rash wherever my skin comes into contact with it).

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