Introduction to Cherrybottom

Cherrybottom Park is a 40.78 acre stretch of woodland that hugs a curve of Big Walnut Creek. Unlike its neighbor, Blendon Metro Park, Cherrybottom is largely unmaintained and unfrequented, no doubt in part to the muddy and brambly environment characteristic of riparian floodplains. However, to myself and friends, the park is a favorite place to visit for spring ephemerals, foraging, and immensely scenic views if you venture far enough into the swamp.

Poison Ivy

Poison ivy has compound leaves with three leaflets. The middle leaflet has a longer stem than the other two whose stems are inconspicuous. The leaves are alternate on their vine, which grows hairy when older.

Boxelder leaves are similar but opposite in arrangement, and wild strawberry leaves are similar but consistently serrated.

Flowers and Inflorescences

Viola striata, striped white violet

Flower features:

Zygomorphic with 5 unfused petals. Epigynous with a syncarpous gynoecium. 2 stamens. Scapose inflorescence. Future as a capsule fruit.

Location: Moist lowland woods

Hesperis matronalis, Dame’s rocket

Flower features:

Corolla of 4 petals; unfused. Actinomorphic. Epigynous with a syncarpous gynoecium. 6 stamens. Raceme inflorescence. Becomes dry, dehiscent fruit (silique/silicle).

Location: Moist, lowland wood

Iris pseudacorus, yellow iris

Flower features:

3 sepal (larger) and 3 petal (smaller) fused perianth. Actinomorphic. Perigynous with a unicarpellate gynoecium. Cyme inflorescence. Fruit is a capsule.

Location: swampy floodplain area

Heracleum maximum, cow parsnip

Flower features:

5 petal, 5 sepal perianth; unfused. Actinomorphic. 5 stamens. Hypogynous, unicarpellate gynoecium. Umbel inflorescence. Achene fruit.

Location: moist lowland woods

Invasive plants

White mulberry

Origin: China

Habitat: Disturbed areas (roadsides, fields, open areas, etc)

Control: Manual removal of saplings is most effective

Elaeagnus umbellata, autumn olive

Origin: China and Japan

Habitat: Open to semi-shaded areas and disturbed cites

Control: Manual removal of saplings most effective.

Euonymus fortunei, wintercreeper

(Dark leaved foliage overtop mushroom in image)

Origin: East Asia

Habitat: Woodlands, scrub, and forests

Control: Repetitive, manual pulling of plant including roots

Lysimachia nummularia, creeping jenny

Origin: Europe and Western Asia

Habitat: Wetlands

Control: Persistent pulling of plant including roots, controlled fires

Plant fruit and families


Fruit type: schizocarp (dry, dehiscent)

Other family-identifying traits: alternate leaves sheathed at base, aromatic

Oleaceae (olive family)

Fruit type: drupe

Other family-identifying traits: shrub, opposite leaves, flowers in racemes and have 2 stamens

Fagaceae (beech family)

Family-identifying traits: Alternate, often lobed simple leaves. Fruit is a fully enclosed nut

Poaceae (grass family)

Fruit type: achene (dry, indehiscent)

Other family-identifying traits: cylindrical, hollow stems, alternate leaves entire and sheathed at base.

Mosses and Lichens

Rough speckled shield lichen

Mnium (baby tooth moss)

Fissidens (fork moss)

Tree moss (Climacium)