The study site is a small park in the middle of off campus housing near The Ohio State University. Surrounded on each side by two one-way brick streets, Iuka Park does not have much traffic passing by it normally which is important considering its narrow width, but it follows along the roads for awhile length-wise. The wooded area continues along a one-way street until it dumps into Woodruff road which is the reason that I first noticed it. I often walk along Woodruff road, and I wondered what the road, that looked more like a secret passage, lead to. Finally one day I followed it and found the hidden Iuka Park. What makes the park special is not necessarily its size or specimens, but its location amongst such dense population.
The first two new plants that I found were both shrubs. The one pictured above is the Coralberry, Symphoricarpos orbiculatus. The one below is Cranberry Viburnum, Viburnum trilobum. This plants red drupes (not berries) often last through winter and make a great meal for migrating birds as I learned here.
Next, I found some new trees to add to the others that I had already found in the location. Above is a Black Cherry, Prunus serotina whose inner bark is often used for cough syrup and whose fruit is used in some liqueurs, sodas, and pies as discussed here. Below is the Sour-Gum tree, Nyssa sylvatica. I know from splitting wood for my uncle, that the odd interlocking grain pattern in these trees makes them extremely difficult to split apart. Although I am unsure if this is true, he said they are called gum trees because they are as hard to split as chewed gum.
Next, I found two new flowering plants, the first of which is pictured above. The Cup Plant, Silphium perfoliatum is often planted in wildflower gardens as they can attract butterflies and hummingbirds to pollinate them, as described on the Illinois wildflower site. Seen below is the Lady’s Thumb, Polygonum persicaria which, according to Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, is a weed of gardens and waste places and is quite common.
The final plant that I found is everyone’s least favorite. Pictured below is Poison Ivy, Rhus radicans. This plant, which contains a skin irritant that causes itching and rash, has three leaflets (its leaves are trifoliate), often grows on hairy vines on the sides of trees, and grows white drupes. The particular plant seen below was found in Iuka park, and was growing on a tree along with many other vine plants.
CC’s of the Plants of Iuka Park
Arctium minus, Common Burdock- 0
Aronia melanocarpa, Black Chokeberry- 5
Aster cordifolius, Blue Wood Aster- 4
Carya cordiformis, Bitternut Hickory- 5
Cichorium intybus, Chicory- 0
Dioscorea villosa, Wild Yam- 4
Dryopteris marginalis, Marginal Wood Fern- 5
Eupatorium rugosum, White snakeroot- 3
Fraxinus americana, White Ash- 6
Lindera benzoin, Spicebush- 5
Parthenocissus quinquefolia,Virginia Creeper-2
Persicaria maculosa, Lady’s Thumb- 0
Phytolacca americana, Pokeweed- 1
Quercus rubra, Red Oak- 6
Rubus occidentalis, Black Raspberry- 1
Solidago canadensis, Canada Goldenrod-1
Symphyotrichum lanceolatum, Eastern Lined Aster- 3
Tilia americana, American Basswood- 6
Viburnum opulus, Highbush Cranberry- 8
Vitis riparia, Riverbank Grape- 3
Viburnum opulus- CC=8; This bush is very identifiable by its large bunches red “berries,” although they are actually drupes. The leaves, bark, and berries of the bush are all poisonous to humans although the berries are edible when cooked as told here.
Fraxinus americana- CC=6; The White ash tree is identifiable by the undersides of their leaves which as much lighter than the tops. The white ash has been used historically to make tools by Native Americans, and they are often still used to make tool handles today according to the USDA.
Quercus rubra- CC=6; The red oak is identifiable by its classic oak shaped leaves that have uneven lobes and are longer than they are wide. Also, unlike some other oaks, the red oaks leaves often turn vibrant colors in autumn before falling, rather than just brown. Acorns from the red oak are treats for squirrels, as most people know, but also turkeys, blue jays, foxes, deer, and raccoons as described here.
Tilia americana- CC=6; The American Basswood has heart-shaped leaves similar to those of a Redbud tree, but it differs in that its leaves have serrated edges. Basswood leaves contain high levels of many important soil nutrients, and thus, they contribute significantly to the soil’s nutritional quality when they fall (found here).
Arctium minus, CC=0; Common Burdock has a purple corolla surrounded by a spiny phyllary. The plant is edible and has been used as an anti-inflammatory for many years (found here).
Cichorium intybus- CC=0; Chicory is identifiable by its purple ray flowers and its ligulate capitulum. It is one of few flowers in Ohio that has this capitulum type. Chicory has a long taproot that helps it survive droughts (found here).
Solidago canadensis- CC=1; Canada Goldenrod is identifiable by its large clumps of golden flowers at the end of long green stalks. This plant has an “aggressive rhizomatous growth, which enables them to rapidly colonize disturbed sites and causes them to be difficult to control” as told on the USDA website.
Eupatorium rugosum- CC=3; White snakeroot is identifiable by its fluffy looking, small white flowers. This plant has a rather dark past as in early America, cows that ate it would then have milk that was poisonous to those who drank it, both humans and calves. This “milk sickness” killed many Americans at the time including, allegedly, Abraham Lincoln’s mother (found here).
Invasive Species at Iuka Park
Lonicera mackii, Amur Honeysuckle is identifiable by its delicate looking white, and sometimes pink, flowers that bloom in the spring and its clearly visible stamens. The plant was first introduced into the area from China and Korea and quickly introduced its self into habitats all over the middle and Eastern United States as seen on the map here.
Euonymus fortunei, Wintercreeper– The wintercreeper can appear as ground cover, an ascending vine, or a mounding shrub and does appear in all these ways at Iuka Park. The plant has dark glossy leaves with clearly visible, lighter veins. This makes it look somewhat like an ivy. The plant is native to Eastern Asia but is now extremely prevalent in Ohio according to Invasiveplantatlas.org.
Hedera helix, English Ivy- English Ivy is identifiable by its extremely glossy, dark green leaves. The Ivy was actually first brought to America by European settlers for ornamental purposes and soon spread to most parts of the Eastern United States and beyond (found here).
Alliaria petiolata, Garlic Mustard- Garlic Mustard is identifiable by its basal rosettes that stay green year long, and its white flowers that only bloom in the summer. Garlic mustard came to North America from Europe and parts of Asia and is an extremely aggressive species as talked about on this New York invasive species site.
Four Substrate Associated Plants
- Distribution limited to limestone and limey-substrates- The Redbud tree, Cercis canadensis, is found mainly in areas where limestone is present in shallow depths. The Redbud is identifiable by its entire, heart-shaped leaves.
2. Distribution limited to the high-lime, clay-rich thick till plains- The shagbark hickory, Carya ovata, is mainly distributed in the high lime, clay-rich till plains on somewhat drier sites. The shagbark hickory is identifiable by its bark that appears to peel off the tree.
3. Distribution limited to the sandstone hills of eastern Ohio- The Hemlock, Tsuga canadensis is found mainly in the acidic sandstone hills of Eastern Ohio, but its boundary extends North past the glacial boundary. The hemlock is identifiable by its very flat, glossy type needles.
4. Distribution limited to one side or the other of the glacial boundary- The blue Ash, Fraxinus quadrangilia, is found mainly in Western Ohio, where the glaciers had distributed lime-rich till. The Blue Ash is identifiable by its blueish-gray bark which gives it its name.