Above are pictures from the sight to show how it looked. A lot of the park seemed to look like open field that had been covered with tall grasses and flowering plants. The other majority of the park was trees that weren’t very tightly packed together. Another big part of the park was in the middle there was a pond that had a lot of vegetation around it. I had never been to this park before, in fact this is the first park that I have been to that was part of the Delaware County Preservation Parks. It was definitely an exciting trip because it was a new park and also this is the first time I have gone with my partner and identified plants and it was exciting to identify them for him.
From where I started walking the path started out as woods and there were some bushes that scattered across the understory. It was here that I found the first new plant.
This bush is the first one I saw that caught my eye, it was fairly large, and there were little red oval berries on it. Before I could identify it or see if it was even safe to eat my partner used his teeth to break the skin to taste it. His eyes got big and he had me smell it. It has a peppery smell to it and when I identified it it came to no surprise to me where the name came from. The leaves are arranged alternately, and are simple and entire. Fun fact, every part of the plant is edible and the twigs were used to make tea that would help with gas, the cold, and even worms! (Monticello-Northern Spicebush).
Further along the trail we got to the pond which created a home for many wild flowers and grasses. Although there weren’t many flowers in bloom there were still some flowers that caught my eye.
This flower stood out above the rest, quite literally, because it is giant goldenrod and it was taller than most of the other plants. This flower was a little harder to identify because the flowers weren’t in bloom but from working at a plant nursery I already knew it was goldenrod because it is a popular native plant in gardens. In the book many of the goldenrods look very similar but after further reasoning and a closer look at the leaves I determined it to be a giant goldenrod.
This shorter flower was tucked away surounded by tall grass and behind a fence to keep people away from the pond so it was hard to get an up close picture of it. This flower is used to help boost the immune system and is actually sold in a pill form in stores, I have been using echinacea (another name used for purple coneflower) all my life to help with illnesses.
Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)
Below are 2 pictures of the same plant which at first I almost walked right passed it until I saw those huge thorns! These thorns on the trunk were just about the size of my hand and although the spikes on the bark were the biggest they didn’t stop there there were thorns all throughout this tree. A fun fact about this tree is that the pulp of the fruit are edible and sweet.
The name of this tree is a little misleading because you would think that the leaves would be slippery but in fact they are quite the opposite. When you rub the leaves of the tree they feel more like sand paper and even make a sound similar to it. Slippery elm has many medicinal uses one being to treat inflammatory bowel diseases (Healthline-Slippery Elm).
This climbing vine was very easy to spot because of it’s bright leaves and it was right off of the trail just a little below eye level. This plant was a little harder to identify because this plant seems to be fairly young and hadn’t had time to grow aerial roots yet which is one characteristic of the plant. One medicinal use the Virginia creeper has is that it can be used to reduce the swelling on poison ivy rashes.
Speaking of poison ivy I was able to find it just off the trail and climbing a tree which it has almost completely hidden. I had almost touched it because I had thought it was part of the tree but when I saw the white “berries” which can be seen directly in the middle of the picture I thought twice about touching it. After I stopped myself and took time to look at the leaves which were in the famous group of three I was definitely sure that it was poison ivy. This story just goes to show that you should always double check what you want to touch before you touch it.
Part Two: CC, FQAI, Invasive, and Soil Specific
List of Plants
Name CC Level
- Calico Aster 2
- American Beech 7
- Virginia Stickweed 2
- Canadian Wood Nettle 5
- Longstalk Sedge 7
- American Sycamore 7
- Ironwood Hophornbeam 5
- Arrowwood Vibernum 2
- Sugar Maple 5
- Canada Goldenrod 1
- Slippery Elm 3
- Northern Spicebush 5
- Amur Honeysuckle 0
- White Snakeroot 3
- Giant Goldenrod 3
- Touch Me Nots 2
- Purple Coneflower 6
- False Sunflower 5
- Stiff Goldenrod 8
- New England Aster 2
- Great Blue Lobelia 3
- Birds Foot Trefoil 0
- Frost Grape 3
- Virginia Creeper 2
- Indian Hemp 1
- Honey Locust 4
- Queen Anne’s Lace 0
- Ironweed 3
- Paradise Apple 0
- Poison Ivy 1
FQAI Score: 18.67
Top 4 CC Scores
Stiff Goldenrod (Solidago rigida)
Stiff goldenrod looks like a little goldenrod and I imagine that it looks like a tightly bound bouqet of yellow flowers. Stiff goldenrod is uncommen to occur in the eastern United States, it is most commonly found in the praries to the west. It likes limestone or sandy substrates. It has shown to be able to survive many kinds of environments such as ones that are disturbed a lot, woods, grazing fields, and it even does well with fire. So not only is stiff goldenrod more rare in Ohio but it also grows in sandstone rich environments which we have thanks to the glaciers and it is also very resiliant and even thrives under certain pressures (Native Plant Trust-Stiff Goldenrod). This is a very cool plant indeed. At this site I was only able to see this one individual Stiff goldenrod throughout the park so it goes to show how unlikely it is to find at least in this area.
American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
To help identify this plant the leaves are alternate, pinnate, and entire, also the trunk is smooth and there are usually carvings in the tree. There were many beech trees around this park and with that comes a lot of those iconic writings on the trunk, many if not all were the result of love conffesions or two people scratching their initials in the trunk with a heart around it. The American beech has very good quality wood good for timber but it also feeds the local wildlife with the nuts that it produces. The wood is not the only profit that people can make off of the trees, the nuts are also sold to feed pigs and other livestock. The nuts can be eaten by humans as well but it is not a popular shelf or forage item because it is hard to get out of the shell (Mast Tree Network- American Beech).
Longstalk Sedge (Carex pedunculata)
You can identify a sedge by it having a triangular shape compared to grass which isn’t as angular, also it produces the most stalks out of one point compared to the other sedges. Sedges are important ecologically because they are perinnials and they are very persistent and can become abundant. Sedges can be a bit picky of the places they grow, if the conditions aren’t right for a certain kind of sedge then they will simply just not grow there. Sedges also play a signifigant roll for many animals and insects so without sedges some animals or insects could be seriously effected by it. I tried to do research on longstalk sedges speciffiacally but there wasn’t a lot of information out there (even on wikipedia I checked). So this could be a part of the reason why it got a high score because it is rare and so not much is known about it (NCBI-Sedges).
American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)
American sycamores are known for their wood and the great furniture it makes which could play into the high CC score that it received. There are some animals that will eat the seeds of the tree and it also is important for waterfowl (FWF-American Sycamore). You can identify sycamore by the huge leaves that it has which are arranged alternately and simple, they kind of resemble a maple leaf but they are larger. The fruits of the tree are brown looking balls that when broken open reveal a multiple of capsules.
Bottom 4 CC Levels
The leaves of this plant are alternate and get smaller as they reach the top, also there are leaves all throughout the plant which can be a big identifer for this plant because other goldenrods don’t resemble this. This goldenrod plays a signifigant role for pollonators because it is a great source of fall nectar (Good Oak-Canada Goldenrod).
The plant is very widespread throughout the United States in a wide range of environments. In some places it is considered a weed. The seeds are pretty small so they don’t need a lot of effort from any animals to help in fact they can just be taken by the wind over long distances (FEIS-Indian Hemp). So this plant could easily take over the area around it and even a completly different area. I think that is why this plant recieves a low CC score. It is common, and it can get out of control.
The tree produces apples that are red or yellow but are smaller than the usual apple about palm size. The tree is medium sized and the leaves are simple and entire and the tree flowers in April. The root bark of the tree can be used to help treat fevers, so not only do you get a snack but you can also get a kind of medicine from the tree (Plants for a Future-Paradise Apple).
This plant becomes a rather large shrub that can reach a height of up to 15 feet. The leaves are simple and entire but are a little jagged along the edges, the leaves are arranged opposite from each other. The plant gets it’s name from when the native americans used the shoots to make their arrows (Arbor Day Foundation-Arrowwood Viburnum).
You can identify amur honeysuckle by the hollow pith, it is pretty large, the leaves are arranged opposite from each other, and they are oval shaped with a little tail at the end. The reason the the amur honeysuckle is so widespread throughout Ohio is because the birds and deer like it a lot and spread the seeds wherever they go.
Soil Specific Plants
Hop Hornbeam can be found in areas that have sandstone substrate and are more alkine. Emily Traphagen Park is located in the middle of Ohio which is part of the area that was gone over by the glacier to reveal the sandstone. So I would agree with Jane Forsyth that this tree occurs in sandstone substrates.
Forsyth mentions that sedges are one of the herbs that occur in sandstone environments, seeing that I was able to find a sedge in such an environment I would agree with her.
I was not able to find blue ash at Emily Traphagen Park but this is one of the pictures that I took on our field trip to Battelle Darby Metro Park. The park is also located in an environment that is made up of sandstone substrate so I would agree with Forsyth that blue ash occurs in sandstone substrate.
I was not able to find this tree at my site but I saw this buckeye tree also at Battelle Darby Metro Park which like I mentioned is a sandstone area and Forsyth states that it is a tree that occurs in lime sites but I would disagree with her with this tree because I found it in a sandstone area. The only reason I could think that the tree is where it is is perhaps because it was planted there on purpose.