Such a “Little Devil”


This small shrub is called a “Little Devil Ninebark”  (Physocarpus opulifolius). I bought it last year at the local Veteran’s Administration (VA) nursery because of its name and to help out the VA; I’m a veteran. I am not sure why it has the nickname Little Devil.  Nothing about it is devilish. It came through out Virginia mountains winter and is blooming again this year (Plant Zone 7). Blooms start about July and last into fall. The are a delicate pink. Little Devil is a good plant if you want fall blooms in your garden.

We have our Little Devil planted in semi-shade and it still does well. Supposedly it gets to about 4 feet tall; however, mine is about 30 inches. I have to admit I cut it back this summer because shoots appeared to be growing way taller than I desired. It was not harmed by my pruning.

I have no idea where the name “Little Devil” came from for this cute little flowering shrub.  By calling a plant a “Little Devil” or a child a “little imp” we trivialize their actions and moves the words into our common speech. When we do that, they become something common — perhaps we even give a half smile when we say the words.

Although there are perhaps demons/devils that have more power than others,  devils are devils. They are out to harm humans, particularly Christians. The Bible says our enemy the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). We are to resist the Devil and not to give him a foothold in our lives.

Reflection:  How do you resist the Devil? Do you even want to resist him or would you rather negotiate with him?

I love Bible plants along with their symbolism. If you want to learn more about them, read my two books: 1) Rooted in God and 2) God as a Gardener. You can purchase them from my website: Carolyn Roth Ministry at

Copyright July 8, 2016; Carolyn A. Roth






2 responses to “Such a “Little Devil”

  1. Physocarpus opulifolius, aka Common Ninebark or Eastern Ninebark has a flat green foliage in summer, yellow to bronze in fall. Native habitat Quebec to Virginia, Tennessee and Michigan. Introduced 1687. This is according to Michael Dirr, Manuel of Woody Landscape Materials. He discusses a few cultivars but does not discuss Little Devil. In my area (Manhattan, KS) Little Devil is used frequently in landscapes along with its big brother, Diablo 8′-10′(which means Devil in Spanish). Personally I think it because of their color. Very few trees/ shrubs have this rich color for contrast. I have not researched where or how these cultivars came about. They love full sun and make a handsome statement in a landscape against all the other greens. All that said your question is excellent “how do we resist the devil?”

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