Substrate Associated Plants: Acidophiles

1) Chestnut oak

Chestnut oak (Quercus montana) is one of the first acidophiles we encountered on our field trip to Hocking Hills. It is mostly found in eastern Ohio and is an acidic soil loving plant. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, a fun fact about Chestnut oak is that they produce pollen-bearing catkins!

2) Eastern hemlock

Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) is another acidophile also mostly found in the eastern parts of Ohio. According to ODNR, eastern hemlock suffers from one major pest. The woolly adelgid is a difficult to control pest that wreaks havoc on these trees.

                   

3) Sourwood

A small sourwood (Oxydendrum arborelm) sapling is another acidophile we found while on our all-day trip. According to The University of Texas at Austin, sourwood is a valuable plant for honey bees. It is an “all-season” ornamental that bears few disease and insect issues.

4) Butternut walnut

The final acidophile I documented from our trip is butternut walnut (Juglans cinerea)! According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, butternut walnuts are valuable for both furniture and carving. Unfortunately, these trees have been in decline due to the fungal disease, butternut canker. This disease girdles both the branches and stems and is a serious threat to the future of this species.

Biotic Threats To Forest Health

1) American chestnut (Castanea dentata)

According to ODNR, these trees once populated Ohio forests, but have been decimated from the Chestnut blight. This fungus destroyed matured trees leaves only a few remaining stump sprouts today. These stump sprouts are able to grow for some time, before being overtaken by the fungus. Due to their eradication from Ohio forests and their remaining vulnerabilities, it is unlikely they will be successfully reintroduced to Ohio woodlands any time soon.

2) Butternut walnut (Juglans cinerea)

As I discussed before, these trees are currently under threat from the butternut canker disease. A fungal disease that is currently threatening this species everywhere. According to the News Watchman, in 1994 ODNR implemented a butternut management policy to better protect these trees. Currently since the few remaining trees are vulnerable, landowners are encouraged to monitor their butternuts closely and conduct proper health assessments.

Scavenger Hunt: Wildcard! ~ Mushrooms

For my scavenger hunt task I was assigned a wildcard. For my wildcard, I decided to document two different mushrooms I spotted during our trip. The two families they belong to are hymenogastraceae and pleurotaceae.

1) Hymenogastraceae

2) Pleurotaceae

Misc. Findings

1) Pinesap

One of the rare plants we encounter on our Hocking Hills trek was pinesap. These small pinkish plants are parasitic in nature and love acid soils. According to The University of Texas at Austin, this plant does not go through the process of photosynthesis but, rather, obtains its nutrients from fungi associated with its root system.

   

2) Snake liverwort

I found the plant snake moss to be particularly interesting. The appearance of this plant stands true to its name, being green, scaly and snake-like. A fun fact about this liverwort is that if the plant is crushed, a strong, distinct scent is emitted .

3) Common fern moss

Common fern moss is another moss that stood out to me on our trip. The small foliage of this moss is fern-like in appearance, and we found this particular plant on the side of a log. The fern-like foliage is pinnate.

4) Coral fungus

Finally, another less common plant I encountered on our field trip is coral fungus. According to Hillsborough Homesteading, the crown-tipped coral mushroom is in fact edible, although they can disagree with some people gastrointestinally. But, unfortunately the plant I spotted doesn’t appear to be this mushroom but, instead, a fungus.

I took pictures of a bunch of mushrooms I saw on our trek back, and managed to get some good pictures of many. Since I found so many, here are some more of the mushrooms I found. I’ll list the genuses and families of nine of the mushrooms I saw (and got decent pictures of) below.

Family: Russulaceae

Genus: Trichaptum

Common name: Waxgill

Family: Also Russulaceae

Family: Ganodermataceae

Genus: Amanita (left), Genus: Agaricus (right)